City approves homeless rest stop near Autzen Stadium, Eugene Science Factory

City approves homeless rest stop near Autzen Stadium, Eugene Science Factory

EUGENE, Ore. -- A fourth city-approved homeless rest stop was met with some resistance from Eugene residents because of its proximity to local attractions.

The homeless camp is slated to go in near the Eugene Science Factory parking lot in Alton Baker Park. City officials said the campsite would be for mentally ill and disabled campers.

S.L.E.E.P.S. members at the Whoville camp on Broadway and Hilyard St. said they weren’t consulted about the decision on the fourth homeless rest stop.

“We are very concerned that the science center, the Cuthbert and Autzen were not consulted to be involved in a collaborative discussion,” said Jean Stacey of the Whoville Coalition. 

Part of their concern stems from how the nearby Autzen Stadium, Science Factory & Museum, Alton Baker Park, and Cuthbert Amphitheater would react to the camp. 

“This was for people with physical disability or mental illness, and that wasn't specified any further,” said Carolyn Rebbert, the Executive Director of the Science Factory & Museum. “Given the fact that we actively encourage children and recruit families to come here, we want to know more about it because it is a concern of ours.”

Rebbert said she is afraid families might stay away from the museum over safety concerns.

City officials said they reached out to the nearby venues, but didn't get a response in time for their vote. 

Council president Chris Pryor said the homeless tents could compliment the homeless RV program already in place at Alton Baker Park.

“The hope was not the create a whole brand new car camp or camp, but to basically take something that is already there and hopefully add to it in a way that is hopefully not intrusive,” said Pryor.

The city said they want to have a plan in place before closing the illegal Whoville camp Broadway and Hilyard, scheduled to happen before the council goes on break. Officials struck down a motion for the council to reconsider the Alton Baker site.

Currently there are three other city-approved homeless rest stops around Eugene – One is at Roosevelt and Garfield Streets and two others are near the intersection of the NW Expressway and Chambers St.