Yesterday, September 23, there was a last-minute protest event that started at 7 p.m. Eugene Police had little notice as the event only started to gain traction on social media in the late afternoon. The event was a protest related to a recent grand jury decision in Kentucky regarding the death of Breonna Taylor. Social media promotion of the event called for disruption within the community. Eugene Police devoted resources to the safety of people and property related to the event, which gathered 100 or more participants. This left a staffing deficit of officers to respond to the city’s priority calls from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., with only five officers and a sergeant.
The initial group was chanting and holding signs, and started off by blocking traffic at 7:10 p.m. at 8th Avenue and Mill Street, then proceeded to march west into the Downtown Eugene area. They caused a significant, 20-minute traffic blockage of several hundred cars, which were blocked on 7th Avenue headed east along with motorists traveling south from Ferry Street Bridge. Blockages at intersections continued along the route to the Lane County Jail and ten Federal Court House near 8th Avenue and Mill Street. The large group ended up back at the Federal Court House and there were speeches. At 8:30 p.m. the group began to break up, with most leaving. Some remaining members of the group got up to speak after this, calling for more action and disruption by the approximately 40 people left. These individuals formed up to march again, with many wearing black clothing and several putting on gas masks and forming a tight group.
This group marched into the West University and at 17th Avenue and Hillyard Street and began to pull dumpsters, small trash bins, traffic cones in the area, and dragged several mattresses into the street, blocking traffic following them. The group continued to march in the street, disrupting traffic, being disorderly, and committing crimes. The crowd chanted and began to apply graffiti to signage and buildings in the area. EPD officers moved some patrol vehicles with lights on directly behind the crowd, which was on the main campus and this caused the crowd to stop the damage. Individuals began to disperse into the old cemetery off University Street between 15th Avenue and 18th Avenue. In the darkness, they were observed changing clothing and dispersing back into the West University Area. EPD stopped and cited those committing violations and arrested those for which there was probable cause for crimes. In total, two people were arrested:
Alexis Wolcott Worden, age 25, of Eugene was arrested for Interfering with a Police Officer. Officers went to stop Worden for a traffic violation she committed while riding a bike in the area. She fled from officers, and when officers caught up, she again tried to flee and failed to obey lawful orders to stop. No force was used, and she was taken into custody without further incident.
Ethan Joseph Kline, age 28, was arrested for Disorderly Conduct and Interfering with a Police Officer. Kline was identified as blocking traffic in the middle of E. 13th Avenue and Hilyard. This is a major route to University District Hospital and vehicles were prevented from proceeding to UDH. He also was observed blocking the road when others in the group were causing all the criminal mischief in that immediate area. Kline fled on foot when an officer attempted to stop him and arrest him. Officers quickly caught up with him and made the arrest without force or incident.
The two individuals were lodged at Lane County Jail.
Case Number 20-15902.