EUGENE, Ore. - Eugene City Councilors took their first look Wednesday at a game plan to fight homelessness.
It's a plan that may include a second major campsite.
This is the homeless task force study that came out of Occupy Eugene and the controversial camp at Washington-Jefferson Park.
Advocates say from that closed camp--something better can happen.
A packed house filled the McNutt Room as councilors heard the report for the first time.
"This isn't a Eugene issue, it's a national issue," proclaimed Mayor Kitty Piercy.
Piercy told the council the Opportunity Eugene report lays out a plan of action for the homeless.
The list includes a new service center for the homeless downtown, plus better medical services.
Rev. Dan Bryant, one of the 58 that served on the committee said, "This type of program truly has life saving potential. People are already dying on the streets."
Topping all the issues, the issue the big committee couldn't reach consensus on, was where to locate a new campsite. Is it going to be temporary housing, "Or is it an
effort to create a lifestyle permanent encampment for folks, and what is the city's role and responsibility in that?," said city councilman Chris Pryor.
A councilor had an idea for a site, courtesy of the Jefferson-Westside Neighbors. George Brown explained, "Their board unanimously endorsed the site of the old Marine Corps reserve base."
That's the former Marine Corps Reserve Center on 13th near Chambers--but no matter where that second camp might go, one local business says affected merchants nearby should be in the discussion.
"Let them know what's going on, what their plans are. Be more interactive with the community," suggests Shane Evans.
The Stereo Store assistant manager says Occupy Eugene did affect business, with 15 percent fewer customers coming in during December (compared to year before).
But Councilman Pat Farr said that issue aside, let's move on the rest of it. He told the city council, "There are some things on here, that let's all be impatient about
making it happen as quickly as we possibly can."
Farr says one example would be quick approval for the permits to allow the Eugene Mission to expand from 400 to over 600 beds.