In response to the growing need for safe places for homeless individuals to sleep and the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 in the community, the Eugene City Council approved the establishment of five new rest stop sites at its meeting on Wednesday, September 30. Intended to be operational before the end of this year, the new Rest Stops will provide a safe space for 75 to 100 people and be located across five different wards:
- Skinner City Farm (Washington St. and W. 1st, Ward 7)
- Empire Pond (Hwy. 99 and Empire Park Dr., Ward 6)
- Westmoreland Park (North side of 18th Ave., Ward 1)
- Parking Lot 9 off Leo Harris Pkwy (Leo Harris Pkwy. and Walnut Dr., Ward 4)
- Bertelsen Nature Park (Bertelsen and Stewart Rd., just south of W 1st Ave Ward 8)
*Stars marked as Potential Rest Stops are the locations that Council approved on Wednesday.
“The rest stop format has a proven record of helping people connect with needed services, stabilize, and move into more permanent housing,” said Peter Chavannes, Homelessness Policy Analyst. “These additional Rest Stops will double the number of Rest Stops in Eugene and are a critical step as we continue finding ways to support the unhoused community.”
Funding for the new Rest Stops comes from the CARES Coronavirus Relief Fund, Community Development Block Grants – Coronavirus Funds, and the City’s general fund. As with existing Rest Stops, these sites will be managed by social service providers. Per the ordinance EC 4.816(10), each site can sleep up to 15 persons. For rest stop sites operating in good standing for at least six months, the city manager may approve up to 20 persons at a site.
The City works to locate Rest Stops on sites that minimize impacts to neighbors and sensitive areas. City staff have already contacted neighborhood leaders in the Rest Stop neighborhoods and will be reaching out to the larger neighborhood associations as well as community members near the site locations to share more information about the program and understand any concerns.
The City, in partnership with Lane County, continues to make progress on the implementation strategies recommended by the TAC report including expanding temporary shelter, launching a low-barrier shelter and navigation center, and supporting the expanded access to permanent supportive housing.
The City Council first approved the rest stop program in October 2013 to provide a safe place for unhoused people to stay in Eugene. Learn more about the Rest Stop program.