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September 14, 2015 09:19 AM

Advocates for the unhoused in Eugene are rallying at Wayne Morse Plaza (8th and Oak) and care oming before the City Council tonight. They point to a recent statement of interest filed by the U.S. Department of Justice that says "making it a crime for people who are homeless to sleep in public places, when there is insufficient shelter space in a city, unconstitutionally punishes them for being homeless."



SEPTEMBER 14, 2015



The US Department of Justice on August 6, 2015 exerted new federal muscle against local governments that criminalize homelessness .   In a United States Letter of Interest in a Boise Idaho case, DOJ stated unequivocally that enforcement of anti-camping laws when there is inadequate shelter is unconstitutional.

Lane County’s One Night Homeless Count has repeatedly validated that Eugene has hundreds of unsheltered homeless citizens. The city's official website confirms this.  Consequently, Eugene's enforcement of its anti-camping law, 4.815,  is unconstitutional.

In the DOJ "Conclusion" in the Boise case, US Attorney Sharon Brett stated, " If the Court finds that it is impossible for homeless individuals to secure shelter space on some nights because no beds are available, no shelter meets their disability needs, or they have exceeded the maximum stay limitations, then the Court should also find that enforcement of the ordinances under those circumstances criminalizes the status of being homeless and violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution."

"Thus, criminalizing homelessness is both unconstitutional and misguided public policy, leading to worse outcomes for people who are homeless and for their communities," admonished the DOJ. 

Citizens, both housed and unhoused will attend the 7:30 PM Monday, September 14, 2015 meeting of the City Council to demand  a moratorium on 4.815, Eugene’s anti-camping ordinance and that all outstanding tickets be suspended or dismissed.  The group will also demand a moratorium and suspension of 4.807 Criminal Trespass 2, a "quality of life" charge, and of the Parks Exclusion (Restricted Use) which is given without judicial review in violation of the 4th Amendment "due process' clause.  

The final demand is to put a moratorium on interrupting anyone who is settled to sleep on public land who is not blocking pedestrian or vehicular traffic from dusk to dawn  It is intended that the moratoriums remain in place until Eugene develops laws, policies and practices that comply with the US Constitution,  Oregon Law and International Law.  

September 8, 2015 02:00 PM

Backpacker magazine has a tongue-in-cheek, so to speak, video that is both funny and disturbing. Click on the image below to link to the website.

September 2, 2015 10:03 AM

What is the impact of climate change on civil unrest and war? See this new story from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. Click on the story to read the entire post, which has been translated from French.

September 1, 2015 12:40 PM

Democratic Party of Lane County Chair Chris Wig today announced his run for Eugene City Council Ward 1 in the 2016 primary election. Joshua Skov announced his candidacy last week for the position now held by George Brown. Brown may or may not seek re-election.

Here are additional statements from the press release sent out today by Wig's campaign:

“Eugene is growing, and we’re not growing with it,” Wig said. “I have demonstrated my ability to work with diverse groups of people, and I’m running for city council because I’m ready to bring Eugenians together to address our most pressing concerns.”

Chris Wig believes our city’s concerns, such as housing, homelessness, drug addiction and police accountability, require new solutions. He will build coalitions of Eugenians to create a safer, healthier and more prosperous city.

“Time and time again, I’ve seen Chris stand up for our shared progressive values. He will be an effective voice on the city council, and I’ll be encouraging my neighbors to support him,” said Sloan Heermance, an author and retired teacher who lives on College Hill.

Through his successful leadership of the Lane County Democrats, Wig has also earned the support of elected leaders, including Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian. “Democrats in Lane County have achieved tremendous success under Chris’ leadership. He’s a rising star, and Eugene would be very lucky to have him on the city council,” Avakian said.

Chris Wig has lived in Ward 1 since moving to Eugene to earn his master’s degree at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. He is employed as a drug and alcohol counselor at Emergence Addiction and Behavioral Therapies, where he works with clients from the Lane County Drug Court and Veterans Court. Wig serves as Chair of the Democratic Party of Lane County, a member of the Eugene Civilian Review Board and a founding member of Grupo Latino de Acción Directa—Lane County’s premier Latino community action group.

To date, Wig has raised almost $4,500 in contributions, according to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website.

Eugene City Ward 1 encompasses portions of the Downtown, Jefferson-Westside, Friendly Street, and Far West neighborhoods.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/friendsofchriswig or call 357-7095.

September 1, 2015 02:15 PM

Most of us love our amazing National Park system, but some turn to Yelp to voice their frustrations. Bugs, crowds, parking get people ranting. And it can be entertaining. This story is from Mother Jones.