EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – Hundreds of community members will come together on Saturday with efforts to begin forging a new plan to clear rumors and fight back against the growth of gangs in Lane County.
Around 300 people are expected to come to the first ever Lane County Gang Prevention Forum at Lane Community College (LCC) on Saturday, January 12.
The goal of the symposium is to share what community leaders know about gangs in Lane County. Forum organizers say gangs are a very real group in Lane County and that they’re not just minority groups.
Organizers held one final planning roundtable on Friday at the LCC Center Building. Doctor Kevin Alltucker is a professor of family and human services at the University of Oregon and one of the people who will be speaking at the weekend event.
Alltucker is a life-long Eugene resident and took part in a recent survey of gang perception in Lane County. The survey consisted of interviews with four different groups, including gang-involved and non-gang-involved youth groups, also a downtown security team and community members.
"There are gangs in Lane County. It is a growing problem. There's a lot of misunderstanding about gangs though, here in our community,” said Alltucker.
The survey found lots of gang misunderstandings and a need to collect more data.
“This is an involved community. People want to make it a better place, they want to help. And so that's one of the big purposes of this symposium is to bring people together. Let's share our information: what do we know? where do we need to go?” said Alltucker.
The symposium lasts all day Saturday and is now closed to the public. If you didn’t get a chance to sign up for the event ahead of time, there will be a follow-up symposium in April and anyone can sign up for that soon.
Come April, symposium leaders say they will present action items for the beginning of new programs they'll start in Lane County.