Update regarding Butterfly Lot camping and Camp 99

Update regarding Butterfly Lot camping and Camp 99
Posted on 11/13/2018

Lane County recognizes the need for enhanced services and housing in our community and is actively working to find and create both short-term and long-term solutions. Addressing homelessness is one of the key priorities in Lane County’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan.

 

Downtown Update:

 

Lane County respects and supports every person’s right to free speech and the protections provided by the First Amendment. The Free Speech Plaza, outside of Harris Hall, has been established as a location for lawful protest and is available to any person for protest between 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.

 

The illegal camping that is occurring on the Butterfly Lot is not a form of lawful protest. Additionally, Lane County remains committed to the health and safety of all people in the downtown core and recent incidents, including a fire, have made it clear the health and safety of campers and others downtown are at risk.

 

When it comes to access to public property, the laws in our community apply to everyone; it is important that those laws are enforced in a responsible manner.

 

Lane County and City of Eugene officials are working in partnership to address issues with camping downtown and, with the assistance of the Eugene Police Department, have been communicating to those camped on the Butterfly Lot that they are in violation of camping rules. It is our hope that individuals choose to move.

 

The Board of County Commissioners is in the process of discussing whether to establish hours of operation for the County’s downtown properties in order to make them match the nearby Park Blocks and other public properties downtown.

 

Camp 99 Update:

 

We continue to encourage people at the Butterfly Lot to utilize services and safe places that are available including Camp 99, which was opened to provide people on the Butterfly Lot with a safer and healthier place to camp – it has restrooms, water, and direct access to services at the Lindholm Center, including food, showers, and laundry services.

 

In regard to recent questions about Camp 99, there is no contract with any private individual to manage the camp or that provides any level of authority for an individual to represent Lane County. We did work collaboratively with one camper who served as an advocate and ally during the initial move to Camp 99 and who assisted others in moving to the new location, but that camper is not an authorized surrogate of any agency.

 

As was shared originally, Camp 99 was intended to be temporary (30–60 days). Since the establishment of Camp 99, the City of Eugene and Lane County have agreed to transition that location into a more structured and accountable site to replace the location that the City had originally proposed for downtown Eugene.

 

Currently, Lane County and the City of Eugene are working with St. Vincent de Paul to establish a process and date for that transition to occur. Later this month, St. Vincent de Paul will host an open house at the existing Dusk to Dawn site, north of Camp 99, so that unhoused individuals can see how the program works. A resource fair will also be held at the Lindholm Center at the end of November to help people identify options other than Dusk to Dawn that are available in our community.

 

Our interest and focus continues to be to connect people at the Butterfly Lot and Camp 99 with services that assist the unhoused. Connecting people to housing opportunities can happen best at established sites like Camp 99, Dusk to Dawn, and the Lindholm Center.

 

The City and County invest millions of dollars every year in emergency shelters and services, transitional housing, and longer-term supportive and affordable housing options. Please see the linked document for a more comprehensive list of the programs and services supported by Lane County and the City of Eugene to address homelessness.