EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Big changes continue at the site of Occupy Eugene as the city has now completely fenced off the camp and is limiting access inside.
Early Friday morning, December 23rd, 2011, Eugene Public Works completely fenced off Occupy Eugene’s camp at Washington Jefferson Park between 6th and 7th Avenue. Previously, the city had about 50% of the camp open for entry.
As of Friday morning, everyone is now forced to funnel through a single entry and exit point along Jefferson Street. Eugene Police are also manning the entry and exit point, and only letting authorized personal inside, including city employees and Occupy Eugene volunteers.
Anyone entering the park also has to check in with police before entering the park, as well as provide some identification. Police say they’re letting people in to gather any leftover belongings, but also have the right to keep anyone from entering the site.
Thursday night, EPD says 60 to 80 people entered the park as part of a large rally. Several protestors then lit a bonfire with flames reaching 10 to 20 feet in the air that Eugene Fire ended up putting out.
Police Chief Pete Kerns spoke to the media Friday. Chief Kerns hopes the fence will quell any future safety issues at the park as it shifts to rehabilitation.
“The purpose of that is physically close it so that we can remove all of the debris. Occupy Eugene organizers have said that they'd like to assist in cleaning up the park and restoring it to its original state before the camp moved there, we'd like to do anything we can to accommodate that,” said Chief Kerns.
Dozens continue to clean up the park site, including Eugene City Councilor George Brown, who was on site Friday. Only about 60 people who’ve been sleeping in the camp remain, according to Eugene Police.
On the other hand, some protestors hoisted a papasan chair into a tree Thursday night. Others put a tent on a billboard across the street. One woman named Geneva even stayed in a tree overnight.
“I'm up here… because we're still here,” said Geneva.
Friday afternoon, Geneva remained in the tree. Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns say he is concerned for her safety but there are no plans at this point to get her down.
“I'm borderline homeless, I am losing my house in 3 weeks. I've got three kids of my own, this could be me, and I don't want to disappear in the crack and underneath the bushes. I want to know that if I need to camp out with my friends and form a community to stay safe that I am going to be able to do that, because it just makes common sense to me,” said Geneva.
Some protestors are vowing to stay on the site. Eugene Police says it’s continuing to work with protestors with hopes of a peaceful resolution without a confrontation.
An Occupy Eugene protestor, Karen More says the clean up is going smoothly though.
“The fence has changed things a bit, but police are cooperating and letting us take stuff, remove things from the park,” said More.
“I think the city and the police and Occupy Eugene are cooperating together at this time,” said More.
EPD is still without a deadline for Occupy Eugene protestors. While clean up continues, Jefferson Street between 6th and 7th Avenue remained closed Friday with several dumpsters in the roadway. What is usable is actually being saved and moved to nearby warehouse.