EUGENE, Ore. - Mayor Kitty Piercy broke a tie vote of the Eugene City Council on Wednesday to spend up to $300,000 on police and transition services to dismantle the Occupy Eugene camp.
The vote split 4-4. Piercy issued the deciding vote to dedicate money from the council contingency fund, including money for gang prevention; the parks and maintence fund; and the streets and road fund.
"These funding sources are outrageous, all three of them," said Councilor Pat Farr.
"These are ones are already accounted for so we are just shifting them," City Manager Jon Ruiz said. "I know there not easy choices, this is just my best professional advice."
"I'd rather spend money on helping folks." Councilor Chris Pryor said.
"I think it is a good thing that we are talking about something that we really haven't managed to focus on before," Pryor said. "I do not want to support a position that moves everybody back into the bushes and back under the bridges."
The Council also voted 5-3 to allow the camp to remain in Washington-Jefferson Park until Jan. 11 unless it becomes a danger.
Councilor Betty Taylor favored February. "That isn't enough time to make any difference," she said.
"The stark reality is the men and women and chidren, the homeless, were there before," Farr said, "and if it closes they will still be there. The stark reality is they came from somewhere."
The funding sources include $100,000 apiece from the budgets for parks and roads. The council contingency fund draws on $35,000 in unallocated funds and $65,000 previously committed by the council to gang prevention in Eugene.
"I think we're sending a terrbile message to the voters," Councilor George Poling said.
"We are going to have a firestorm of opposition using the road fund."
The money includes up to $100,000 to expand warming centers, and $200,000 for policing and transition services to secure and dismantle the camp between now and the Jan. 11 deadline.
The plan does not necessarily have Occupy Eugene's support, Ruiz said.
"My understanding is they expressed little or no interest in a transition plan that doesn't include a permanent camp," he said.
The Council vote authorizes the City to spend the money but does require that all the money be spent.