EUGENE Ore. -- Having been recently displaced from the courthouse plaza, some members of Occupy Eugene moved onto an abandoned downtown property on Friday.
Occupy Eugene said they are staking out on the soon to be bank-owned property at 12th and Lawrence as a protest against America's housing crisis.
One of the protesters inhabiting the property, Scott Fife, said that the public has a right to be there in spite of the house being privately owned.
"It's a public property because we bailed out the banks ... and the banks are just sitting on this house." said Fife. "It's creating a detriment to the neighbors."
The property was abandoned over a year and a half ago and is in the process of foreclosure. Shortly after it was abandoned neighbors said that people began breaking into the house, making noise at night and leaving trash around the yard.
This prompted neighbors to get a trespass letter on file with the Eugene Police Department. KVAL News contacted EPD about the letter, which they said had expired.
In cases like this the police department said that they usually get complaints from neighbors, which they follow up with a call to the property owner. The property owner then has to tell the police that the person is a trespasser.
Until someone with a legal interests in the property makes a complaint, the protesters are not criminally trespassing and EPD cannot make a move. Provided that no other laws are being broken on the property.
Neighbors told KVAL news that they were delighted to have the protesters cleaning up the property and protecting the property from further harm.
"It is absolutely a good thing because it's keeping the people people who care here, and keeping the people who were abusing the place away." said Lisa Arkin, who works across the street.
Fife, who has a home of his own in Eugene, said that Occupy will inhabit the abandoned property unless they are kicked off.
"We're not looking for a place to squat. We are looking fro a place to keep clean, we are looking to raise awareness." Fife said.