Campers pitch tents at old S.L.E.E.P.S. site: 'It’s a complex issue'

Campers pitch tents at old S.L.E.E.P.S. site: 'It’s a complex issue' »Play Video
A group of homeless people pitched tents in a vacant lot Thursday near the intersection of the Northwest Expressway and River Road. City officials had already banned camping at the site previously occupied by S.L.E.E.P.S. protesters in 2012.

EUGENE, Ore. – A group of seven or so homeless campers pitched tents in North Eugene Thursday night on an area where the city already banned camping.


The group pitched their tents at the intersection of Northwest Expressway and River Road, an old S.L.E.E.P.S. protest site that is across the street from a homeless rest stop approved by the city.


The impromptu camp showed up about a month before the city plans to close the Whoville homeless camp at Franklin Blvd. and Hilyard St.


The tents showed up sometime Thursday or Friday, said Eugene Police Lt. Scott Fellman.


“Yesterday (Saturday), patrol officers contacted the people that had set up there and talked with them,” Fellman said. “We have assurance from them they’d be out of there by Monday.”


Fellman said he drove by the site Sunday and found campers were already packing up, adding that EPD will continue to monitor the area as they've had problems at the site before.


“It’s a complex issue. [We] Just try to do our part and treat people fairly and as compassionately as we can, while making sure the laws are followed.”


The City of Eugene is still looking for a private owner to run the city-approved homeless rest stop across the street.


While they still have a month to move, a few of the over 30 people living at the Whoville site on Broadway and Hilyard St. told our reporters they are unsure where they are going next.