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.

 

Provide Feedback on Potential Sites

In collaboration with Lane County and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, staff have been conducting a comprehensive review of potential locations for sites including publicly-owned property and private land. In all, staff have reviewed more than 300 potential locations. Criteria including accessibility, site size, shape, natural features, proximity to social services, public transit and other community resources were used to narrow the sites to the most suitable.


Locations currently being considered for Safe Sleep sites include:A map of Eugene showing potential Safe Sleeping sites as of June 2021 Opens in new window

  • 11th and Garfield
  • W. 11th and Greenhill
  • 151 River Ave
  • 6th and Chambers
  • 6th and Filmore
  • 2nd and Cleveland
  • Hwy. 99 and Roosevelt
  • St. Vincent DePaul Lot at 422 Stevenson Way

The City is also considering sites on publicly owned land including:

  • Chase Commons Park at Garden Way and Commons Drive
  • 2nd and Garfield
  • River Road Station at River Rd. and Beltline.

Click the map image to the right to see the locations of the potential sites, or click here for a map that shows existing sites as well as potential sites

Staff have begun collecting additional information on these sites from the community. To provide input on the pros and cons of any sites please email staff at UnhousedServices@eugene-or.gov.

The City Council will hold a Work Session on June 23 to receive an update regarding safe sleeping sites, initial community feedback, and potential approval of sites.


Safe Sleeping Site Background

By creating the additional sites, those individuals currently camping in Washington Jefferson Park, 13th and Chambers, and in vehicles in West Eugene, will be prioritized to occupy legal spaces to sleep that are managed and have services to ensure health and safety.

 

The original plan to establish 200 “safe parking” and 300 “safe tent” sites was shared during an April 12 City Council Work Session.  In establishing the safe sites collaboration is key.  A critical partner in providing safe places for the unhoused is the local service provider network. City staff have been meeting with social service providers to understand provider capacity to support new sanctioned sites. With any large-scale problem, collaboration and coordination across the community will be critical. City staff have been working with Lane County, private property owners and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce to identify locations to establish the new temporary safe sites. 

 

The ordinance is part of an overarching strategy to address the impacts of unsheltered homelessness. There will be a public hearing on code amendments for on street parking regulations on June 14.

 

The City continues to work with Lane County and partners in the community to find safe places for unhoused community members, including the newly established microsites, additional Rest Stops, overnight car camping sites and in existing shelters. However, it is still the case that many people experiencing homelessness are residing in Eugene’s parks, natural areas, and right of way areas for the time being.

  1. Washington Jefferson Park
  2. 13th Avenue Site

The City of Eugene started providing additional services to Washington Jefferson Park in March of 2020, in accordance with public health guidance, and with the goal of increased sanitation support and decreased need for the unhoused to move throughout the community. 


As more and more people relocated to the park, the City scaled services to include portable restrooms, handwashing stations, garbage and sharps containers. The City also applied criteria which set parameters around location of camps, safety and cleanliness, acceptable behaviors and impacts to neighbors, the environment and city infrastructure. Two park hosts were also assigned to the park. The hosts work with people staying at the park, sharing criteria information and helping them to gain compliance under the temporary criteria and remain in place.


The large number of people camping has prevented the use of the park for its intended purpose and has impacted surrounding residents and businesses. In March 2021, an Administrative Order went into effect, capping the number of tents at the park at 240, not allowing anyone else to move into the park, and specifying where people could camp to allow for care of trees and other access. 


Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the City has worked to create more safe places for people to sleep including additional Rest Stops and microsites. Once  the new safe tent and safe parking areas are identified and ready, those staying at Washington Jefferson Park will have the opportunity to move into the new managed locations and the park will return to its intended purpose.