EUGENE, Ore. - A civil liberties group is challenging Eugene's exclusion zone on behalf of a homeless man cited for standing on a metal grate downtown.
The Civil Liberties Defense Center filed a court brief in Eugene Municipal Court on behalf of William Biggs. Attorney Lauren Regan with CLDC said police cited biggs for standing on a metal sidewalk grate.
She said all too often that police cite the homeless, and this case is an example of how the zone can lead to discrimination.
"Most Eugenians wouldn't get hasseled for standing on these grates, but if you look a certain way, have certain economic background, people are being targeted by downtown police officers," she said.
Regan told KVAL News the city has three weeks to respond to the court brief.
The Eugene Police Department declined to talk to KVAL News about the case.
If Biggs is convicted, he'll be excluded from downtown for a year and face a fine.
The brief comes as Eugene debates whether to continue the exclusion zone, which is now set to expire in January. The police commission held a hearing on the ordinance Thursday night.
The commission must make a recommendation to the City Council by Oct. 13.
The municipal court will hold a hearing on Biggs' case on Sept. 27 at 10 a.m.
Photo of Biggs and the grate provided by CLDC: