Eugene to close Whiteaker police station

Eugene to close Whiteaker police station »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - The Eugene Police Department has proposed closing the Monroe Street Station to consolidate office staff at a new Country Club Road location across the Willamette River.

According to Police Chief Pete Kerns, the move will free crime prevention staff to work directly in the neighborhoods rather than asking the public to come to a station.

"This is a good time for us to ask the neighbors and our operations what kind of a presence we should have there, what makes the most sense," he said.

The neighborhood public safety station opened in the Whiteaker in the 1980s and moved to the Monroe Street location in 2005. It's a place where citizens can file police reports, register bikes and set up home safety inspections.

Catherine Reinhart at Sweet Life Patisseries said it's hard to say how much of an effect the change will have on the neighborhood.

"You know the neighborhood has always had it's problems, and they're always manageable, so hopefully it won't make too much of a difference," she said. "I mean it's very nice that we could call down there if there is an incident and there are people there who deal with community issues specifically so that's nice."

KVAL News asked the police chief: How does closing a police station result in better service?

"Well if there are very few visitors to the Monroe Street Station for policing services, then I think we can meet their needs much better by not having a station and make that station manager mobile," he said.

Kerns said the police department's experience with putting station managers out into the neighborhoods has worked well.

"It's turned out to be a very effective way of reducing crime and a much better use to the communities finances," he said.

The police department closed stations in Bethel and Downtown Eugene in 2009.

The department still has the University Station on East 13th Avenue near the University of Oregon. A police spokeswoman said the department does not have plans at this time to close that station.