City Council supports camping 'rest stops' for homeless

City Council supports camping 'rest stops' for homeless
Camp protests in Eugene seek a legal place for people to camp.

EUGENE, Ore. - Small groups of people without homes will be able to camp at designated "rest stops" on city property under a plan taking shape in response to protest camps around the city.

The City Council voted 6-2 to move forward on revising Eugene's ban on residential camping. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the vote as unanimous.

The proposal makes city-owned property available for rest stops, where up to 15 people could legally camp for short periods of time.

The ordinance expands on the initial rest stop proposal to allow more than one camp and more flexibility to individual camps. For example, campers would not necessarily have to pack up their stuff each day.

The specifics of how to implement the plan are still taking shape. Last week, city staff recommended sites for the rest stops.

How many rest stops - and where - remains to be decided by the City Council.

Mayor Kitty Piercy said Monday afternoon she would like to see private and nonprofit partners get involved so the city does bear the entire cost.

But the idea of a legal place to camp was welcomed by protesters who have pitched camp around the city with signs asking to "Legalize Sleep."

"We really think the city has listened," said Tin Man, one of the SLEEPS camp organizers. "Now, is everything perfect? Of course not! Nothing can ever be perfect. But I think we're going in the right direction."

As for the nine SLEEPS camps around the city - the protesters call them Whovilles - campers said they'll continue to move when asked - and re-open new camps.

This is a developing story. Watch NewsSource16 for more on this story