Eugene (KMTR) - The Eugene City Council expects to make a decision next Monday about the downtown exclusion zone. The controversial ordinance is set to expire this spring unless the council votes to extend it.
Tuesday evening council members got an earful of opinions from both sides of the issue.
The exclusion zone ordinance bans certain repeat offenders from the city core. Eugene Police say the exclusion zone is helping them, and they want it extended. Several business groups and property owners also support it, saying it makes the area more welcoming by cutting down on drug use and other crimes.
Walter Hunt, a supporter, said, “I see some really scary people doing really criminal things to people over and over again and that's why they get excluded. I see due process.”
But just as many other speakers, some of them participants in the Occupy Eugene movement, sounded off against the exclusion zone. They say it's unfair and bans people without due process of the law.
Opponent Vicki Nelson asked the council, “Where do you think the people you've excluded are? Are they not going to the bathroom anymore? Are they not sleeping? Where are they? Do you think they're at LCC learning to write a resume? I think it's more likely they're in somebody's yard.”
If the zone is extended the American Civil Liberties Union says it wants to see the police come up with a system to track who is excluded and why.
The council also heard public comment Tuesday night about car camping for homeless people.
There are 30 sites around Eugene where people can sleep in a car for 60-day periods. A city ordinance that allows people with tents also to use those spots will sunset on April 15.
The amendment to allow tents was enacted when Occupy Eugene campers were moved out of Washington-Jefferson Park.
About a half dozen people spoke in favor of the extension. The council has not scheduled a vote on that issue.