Creating More Safe Places to Sleep

Rendering of proposed safe sleeping tent site

The Eugene City Council on Wednesday, April 28, approved an ordinance to create more safe and lawful places for people to sleep. The ordinance allows for the temporary establishment of “safe parking” and “safe tent” sites that could provide options for individuals to legally park their vehicles or sleep in tents. These sites will accommodate a larger number of vehicles or tents than previously allowed by code, up to 60 vehicles or up to 40 tents. The sites will be managed by social service providers who will be responsible for compliance with rules and community agreements, monitoring who is allowed to be on-site, coordinating ongoing site infrastructure needs, being accessible and responsive to neighbor concerns, and coordinating with the City and other partners.

The ordinance would remain in effect until May 1, 2023, unless extended.

  1. WJ Park & 13th Avenue
  2. Safe Sleeping Site Background

** Updated 9/20/2021

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Washington Jefferson Park

Tent site count is 230, each in a gridded 12-foot by 12-foot space, with 12 feet between each. This is 10 sites fewer than the limit of 240 set by the City earlier in 2021. Staff will use a map of the grid system to track which sites are occupied and closed, and the grid number system will be used to flag sites for needs or concerns. 

After on-site staff noticed sanitation concerns in one of the park sections, logistics staff sourced more portable restrooms, two handwashing stations and a dumpster. The location will be challenging for service, but staff will work with the external providers for best access. Park Operations is upgrading park garbage cans to meet the new park standard; temporary cans have been installed as this process continues. Colder temperatures can bring on greater likelihood of warming fires, and staff are immediately reporting any evidence of illegal burning. In preparation for wet weather, Park Operations and site monitors are laying down landscape fabric and gravel to create safe, navigable paths through the grass areas of the park. 

13th Avenue

The tent count this week is steady at 68. Gravel paths will also be laid down at this location as wetter weather becomes the norm. There was a second altercation at the start of the week that required law enforcement intervention: a woman attempted to enter a tent uninvited and when she was denied, threw rocks through the tent at the occupant. The woman then struck a bystander who tried to intervene. The woman was arrested by Eugene Police, lodged at Lane County Jail and trespassed from the location. Site personnel and police continue to be vigilant about any reports of criminal activity or inappropriate behavior near the site.

Council Approves First Two Safe Sleep Sites and New Rest Stop

At its meeting on July 21, the Eugene City Council approved the first two Safe Sleep sites at Chase Commons Park and 2nd and Garfield. Once set up, these sites will be managed by social service providers and provide a space people experiencing homelessness to legally park their vehicles or sleep in tents. The goal of the sites is to provide safe, legal places for people experiencing homelessness to sleep and connect to services as well as reduce the impacts of unsanctioned camping across the city. 

In addition, the Council  approved a request to expand an existing site used for medical respite at the Eugene Service Station, allowing it to serve as an additional Rest Stop location that can serve up to 12 people at any one time. 

Following a review of more than 300 locations, vetting dozens of potential sites, and outreach efforts to understand community concerns staff A map of Eugene with stars marking the location of two new Safe Sleep sites.recommended and Council approved the first two Safe Sleep sites.

  • Chase Commons Park: This City owned property is approximately four acres in size. After initial neighborhood and business outreach, staff have drafted a site plan that will accommodate up to 20 Conestoga huts on a portion of the site. 
  • 2nd and Garfield: This property, owned by Lane Transit District (LTD) and located at 310 Garfield Avenue, is approximately five acres and could accommodate both tents and vehicles. Staff are working with local social service providers related to operating this site. Learn more in an FAQ about this site.

Staff continue to assess other properties for future Safe Sleep sites, including both public and private properties. Sites will continue to be evaluated further by the Planning and Development and Public Works departments to determine suitability for siting and compatibility with public use. Additional sites will come back to City Council for approval as quickly as possible.

Another round of outreach for each approved site will be conducted to share information with neighbors and stakeholders on the management plan, steps being taken to address concerns heard from the community, and contact information for the site.