EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Should Eugene’s Exclusion Zone stay in place or should it be allowed to expire? Does it impinge on people's basic rights or does it make the downtown core a safer place?
The controversial downtown Exclusion Zone expires in November unless the city council renews it next month. But before it takes action, the council is taking more input from the public.
A Eugene Public Library meeting room was packed Monday night with people interested in the issue. At least sixty of them signed up to speak.
The ordinance allows police officers to ban people who are accused of certain crimes from parts of downtown for 90 days. Police, some residents and downtown businesses say it's working. Others say it's unconstitutional because it kicks people out of downtown before they are found guilty of a crime.
Some of the speakers Tuesday night said many of the people banned from downtown are not the types who belong in jail; that some need mental health counseling or rehabilitation, but they are not hazards to public safety.
Other speakers said the downtown core would not thrive if people are not protected from criminals.
If the Exclusion Zone is renewed, it will be extended for two more years.