EUGENE, Ore. -- The City Council asked Eugene's police to help clean up downtown -- by kicking out criminals. Police will start enforcing the exclusion zone Friday.
WHERE IS THE EXCLUSION ZONE?
The exclusion zone spans 20 square blocks in downtown Eugene. It spans from 7th Avenue to 11th Avenue and from Lincoln Street to Pearl Street. The Lane County Courthouse is not included. The zone also extends to Lawrence Street between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue.
WHAT WILL LEAD TO EXCLUSION?
90 DAYS: A Municipal Court judge may issue a 90-day exclusion order after a person is arrested or cited for certain offenses, such as
- Criminal mischief / vandalism / graffiti
- Urinating or defecating in a public place
- Selling alcohol to a minor
- Drug offenses—possessing or using controlled substances, including marijuana (any amount), methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy (MDMA) and inhalants
- Controlled substance offense using a minor or distributing to a minor
If a person is cited or arrested for certain offenses in the Downtown Public Safety Zone, a judge may exclude that person from downtown for 90 days. If a person is later convicted of committing one of a larger list of offenses in the downtown zone, he or she can be excluded for a year. If a person is found not guilty of the offense or the prosecutor decides not to press charges, the 90-day exclusion order ends at that time.
There are a few specific exceptions to exclusion orders, and an excluded person may be granted a variance and allowed to come downtown for reasons such as residing, working or going to school within the downtown zone.
FULL YEAR: A judge also may exclude a person for a full year if he or she is convicted of certain crimes or violations
- Any of the offenses listed above
- Criminal trespass
- Disorderly conduct
- Offensive physical contact
- Noise disturbance
- Public indecency
- Prohibited nudity
- Recklessly endangering another person
- Alcohol offenses—drinking or possessing alcohol in unlicensed
public places; minors purchasing or possessing alcohol
- Weapon offenses—unlawfully possessing, pointing or discharging (firing)
a firearm; carrying a concealed weapon
- Interfering with pedestrians
- Interfering with public transportation (e.g. LTD buses)
- Theft, theft of services (e.g. “dine-and-dash”), shoplifting, petty larceny
- Unlawful entry into a motor vehicle
- Attempting to commit any of the listed offenses
HOW THE EXCLUSION PROCESS WORKS
There are two main kinds of downtown exclusion orders. First, a person can be excluded for 90 days if he or she is arrested or cited in the downtown zone for certain offenses. When a police officer arrests a person or writes a citation for one of these offenses, the person will be given a notice to appear at the Eugene Municipal Court, at an assigned time within 3 to 5 business days. At that time, the person may ask for a “show-cause hearing” to be scheduled within two weeks. At the hearing, the person may explain to the judge why he or she should not be excluded, and the police officer or other persons may also provide information. At the person’s own expense, the person may hire a lawyer to represent him or her at the hearing. Whether or not the person comes to court at the scheduled time, if the judge decides that based on the evidence the person likely committed the offense, the judge may exclude the person from the downtown zone for 90 days. If the person is later found not guilty or the charges are dropped, the exclusion order ends at that time.
Second, if a person is convicted of committing one of a larger group of offenses downtown, the court may exclude him or her from downtown for one year.
A person who has received an exclusion order is not allowed to come into the downtown zone for any reason other than the few exceptions listed in the ordinance (examples include meeting with a lawyer or doctor, or going through downtown on an LTD bus), unless he or she gets a variance from the court. If a person comes into the downtown zone in violation of an exclusion order, he or she may be arrested and taken to jail.
The complete ordinance is on the City’s website. Go to http://www.eugene-or.gov/citycode and read sections 4.873–4.879 and 4.990, or search for Council Ordinance Number 20419. Free internet access is offered at the Eugene Public Library at 10th & Olive in Eugene.