A 2012 one-night count of homeless people in Lane County found 1751 people sleeping outside or in shelters. In Eugene — Lane County’s biggest city — there are various options for people experiencing homelessness, both legal and illegal.
In addition to shelters and other services, there are three sites where people live in tents or small structures. Opportunity Village opened in October on city-owned land. The village is a nonprofit and with city council approval, 45 people live there in micro-structures (the biggest is 80 square feet). Right around the corner is a city-sanctioned “rest stop” that provides a spot for 15 people to sleep in structures called conestogas. And then there’s Whoville, a collection of tents and other makeshift structures at the busy intersection of Hilliard and Broadway.
Like Opportunity Village, Whoville grew out of the Occupy Eugene encampment, but unlike the village, Whoville is considered an illegal camp. On Wednesday, the city council told the residents of Whoville they have 30 days to move off the site.
Do you live in Eugene? How do you think the city is handling the issue of homelessness? How does this issue touch your life?