In wake of Whoville closure, City Council backs away from rest stop near Science Factory

In wake of Whoville closure, City Council backs away from rest stop near Science Factory »Play Video
Advocates for the homeless hope to see additional rest stops open in the wake of the closure April 4 of the illegal Whoville camp

EUGENE, Ore. - A homeless rest stop camp doesn't belong in the parking lot next door to the Eugene Science Factory, the Eugene City Council decided Wednesday.

"So we're in a tough spot," Councilor Claire Syrett said. "I think we're trying to do our best."

The tough spot is what to do now that the illegal Whoville homeless camp is closed.

Councilors last month approved a city-owned parking lot next to the Science Factory as the place for the next in a series of legal 15-person rest stops.

On Wednesday, Councilr Chris Pryor said his proposal for the site was made in haste.

"The site where the car camp is - if a rest stop is located there, the car camp will close," he said. "I thought there was a compatibility that I since learned is not."

The city is back to the two rest stop camps now in operation on Roosevelt Boulevard and Chambers at Northwest Expressway.

"I don't think we should be rushing into this," said Councilor Alan Zelenka. "I think it's very difficult to site these."

"We need to let our pilot projects operate and evaluate whether or not they are a viable alternative," Syrett said.

After the result of the 4 to 3 Council vote, advocates for the homeless said they were not happy with the final result.

Groups like the Community Alliance of Lane County said more needs to be done.

"We are going to come back to Council and ask them to approve another site for two 15-person rest stops, for a total of 30," said Michael Carrigan with CALC.

Carrigan said CALC is ready to manage at least one of those new sites.

"We're prepared to do that, right now," he said.