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.

Safe Sleep (Parking) Site Sign Up

To sign up for a parking spot at the at 310 Garfield Safe Sleep site, complete the Safe Sleep Waiting List form.

  1. WJ Park & 13th Avenue
  2. Safe Sleeping Site Background

Updated 12/21/2021

Washington Jefferson Park

117 gridded camp spaces remain occupied. From December 11-14, no camp space removals or cleanups occurred because of low overnight temperatures. Site monitors report that on average, six new camps attempt to set up in the park each day (one day saw 14 new camps). New arrivals are given notice to leave immediately under long-established rules that new camps are not allowed in the park. Most have complied voluntarily. Contractors with NorthWest HazMat consistently remove 8-16 cubic yards of debris daily, which continues to protect site monitors and other park users from exposure to hazards. City staff and neighbors have observed that many of the former occupants removed for persistent non-compliance with temporary camp or park rules, have resumed unsanctioned camping in area neighborhoods. This has continued the strain on businesses and residents in the area, and the City has been challenged to keep up with addressing unsanctioned camps that block the right of way or create health and safety impacts, because of ongoing limited staffing. Site staff at Washington Jefferson recognize the holidays and winter weather create a strain on unhoused occupants at the park. Staff continue to try to work with occupants to maintain a health and safety baseline in the park and to not perform cleanups and removals other than for unapproved, new-arriving camps. At Skinner Butte Park, just north of Washington Jefferson Park, staff count 18 camp spaces in the area. Site staff from the 13th Avenue temporary camp split time at this site and begin days checking for unauthorized new camps and checking existing camp spaces for temporary camp criteria compliance. Several unauthorized camps have been removed recently that were too close to the river. 

Note: Removal of campers may be suspended when freezing weather is forecasted.

13th Avenue

48 gridded camp spaces remain occupied. A new layer of bark was recently spread in the main pedestrian areas and a large bark pile was staged for as-needed use at individual camp spaces. Moisture control continues to be a major challenge through the wet months, and bi-weekly bark deliveries are planned. Staff plan to reinstall bollards and chains to prevent unauthorized vehicles from driving into the site's gravel path, and preserve it for maintenance and emergency use.  

Note: Removal of campers may be suspended when freezing weather is forecasted.

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Council Approves Three New Safe Sleep Sites

At its meeting September 29, the Eugene City Council approved three additional Safe Sleep sites, bringing the total to five.

Once established, local social service providers will manage the sites and provide a place for people experiencing homelessness to legally locate vehicles or tents or small structures for sleeping overnight.

The three newly approved sites could eventually host up to 150 spaces for people experiencing homelessness.

  • 2243 Roosevelt Blvd.: Local non-profit SquareOne Villages owns this 3.3-acre property and currently operates a microsite at this location. The Safe Sleep site designation allows the site to include as many as 40 spaces, however the initial expansion is expected to be around 30 spaces.
  • 410 Garfield St.: This 2.8-acre property is privately owned and would be leased by the CIty. It features a 27,300 square-foot building that could accommodate approximately 90 tent spaces. The City is in conversation with St. Vincent de Paul to serve as the operator.
  • Dani Street: This 3.5-acre site is owned by Rexius and located east of Wallis Street, at the north end of Dani Street. The site can initially host up to 30 spaces, serving a mix of vehicles and small shelters. Local non-profit EveryOne Village, associated with Everyone Church, would operate the site.

City staff will perform additional community engagement around each of the locations, including sharing 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.

At its July 21 meeting, the Eugene City Council approved the first two Safe Sleep sites:

  • 2nd and Garfield: This property, owned by Lane Transit District (LTD) and located at 310 Garfield Avenue, is approximately five acres. LTD is leasing the property to the City at no cost for the first two years of the lease. There is space for approximately 55 vehicles. This site is expected
  • to open the week of October 4. St. Vincent de Paul will serve as the operator of the Safe Sleep site.
  • Chase Commons Park: This City-owned property is approximately four acres and may accommodate up to 20 Conestoga huts. City staff are working to identify a social service provider to operate this Safe Sleep site, and also plan to work more with neighbors to address questions or concerns.

The City’s Planning and Development Department and Public Works departments will continue to evaluate potential Safe Sleep sites and return to City Council for approval as quickly as possible.

The goal of Safe Sleep 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. Staff have reviewed more than 300 locations and closely analyzed dozens of potential sites.

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, in groups of up to 60 vehicles and 40 tents each, per site.

People staying at the two large temporary camps at 13th Avenue and Washington Jefferson Park will be prioritized to move into established Safe Sleep sites that accommodate tents or small structures. People living in vehicles in west Eugene will have the opportunity to move into the safe parking sites.

Through the City’s partnership with Lane County a number of other actions are also underway, including coordinated outreach efforts to people experiencing homelessness, adding permanent supportive housing units, and expanding rapid rehousing programs. These efforts, when implemented together, are intended to make homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring. More information about the City’s response to homelessness is available online.