Eugene (KMTR) - The Eugene City Council voted Monday night to extend a ban on certain people from downtown Eugene and may ban plastic bags from stores.
On a 6-to-2 vote, council members extended the Public Safety ordinance which includes a downtown exclusion zone. The ordinance bans repeat criminal offenders from the city center. Police give the offenders a ticket, and then a judge decides whether the offenders can be banned.
The rule was set to expire in April, but the council extended it to November 30. At that time, the city council can extend it again or do away with it altogether.
Supporters say it has kept some criminals out of downtown and has cut down on drug use.
Opponents, including Alley Valkyrie, say the ban is unconstitutional.
“I hope in November they allow this law to sunset,” said Valkyrie. “I believe then that the correct data will be shown, if not by E.P.D., then by those who are advocating for the rights of the homeless. And I think when city council does have the proper data in front of them, it does show them how the law is being abused they will allow this law to sunset.”
Also Monday night, the city council opened the discussion on banning plastic bags at grocery stores and started the process of making it happen.
Pollution is the top argument in favor the ban. Recycling centers also point out the high cost of processing plastic bags. More than 60 local businesses and 15 major grocery stores support the idea.
On the other hand, there are business owners who say the switch to paper will cost more for them in the long run. More public hearings on the proposed ban will be held. Councilors hope to draft an ordinance to vote on by summer.