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 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.
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 Department and Public Works 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.
On April 28, the City Council approved an ordinance that allows Safe Sleep Sites to accommodate more tents or vehicles than previously allowed by City Code, up to 60 vehicles and 40 tents per site. Currently, the City anticipates the approved Safe Sleep sites will be prepared for use by the end of next month. People staying at the two large temporary camps at 13th Avenue and Washington Jefferson Park will be prioritized to move into the new sites once they’re established. People living in their cars in industrial areas will have the opportunity to move into the safe vehicle sites.
Through the City’s partnership with Lane County a number of other actions are also underway, including coordinated outreach efforts, adding permanent supportive housing units, engaging with landlords to increase affordable rental options, expanding rapid rehousing programs, and improving tenancy supports. These efforts, when implemented together, are intended to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.