EugeneAdvocates for a Clean City wish to acknowledge specifically the KVAL and Register Guard reports along with other important media coverage. We have always been concerned that focus would shift away from the downtown challenges if our idenity became an issue. Now that it is established that we wish to remain anonymous and that Eugene downtown has a real problem we would like to encourage all to re-focus on solutions to the problems.
Typical of public process we now have numerous organizations that have been formed recently to study the challenges. These include:
- The Downtown Safety Meeting which has been operational we understand for at least one year;
- The newly formed Downtown Safety Task Team;
- The newly formed Citizen Advocates for Public Safety; and
- A City Council Work Session focusing on downtown scheduled for November 23rd at the urging of Councilor Mike Clark and others.
We all know the problems. Those have been well documented in the EugeneAdvocates Pictorials'. If trends continue for the last six months of 2009, Eugene will once again set a new all time high criminal record for 2009. EugeneAdvocates established our goal when we started to not be whiners without providing suggested solutions. As such in both Volume 1 and 2 we did provide short term and long term suggested solutions. We appreciate that the media has focused on who we are and the online discussions. We are hopeful that the media will turn their attention to the suggested solutions of each group.
SOLUTIONS will yield the results that all want to see downtown. More discussions may work for longer term solutions but short term non-budget impacting solutions can bring immediate results. Remember we all operate our daily lives in our comfort zone. Take us out of our comfort zone and we have a tendency to move back to a more comfortable situation. The short term solutions EugeneAdvocates has suggested are designed to move our downtown law breakers out of their comfort zone in hopes that they will move to another comfort zone venue.
There is a segment of our community who believe that "...the business owner is the same as the wino in the eyes of God." EugeneAdvocates does not dispute that. However, it is important to remember that by definition downtown is the "...main business section of a city or town." Downtown is provided to investors and businesses for servicing their law abiding customers. The disconnect occurs when folks do not understand the purpose of a downtown and fail to recognize that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. The police officer who stops you on the highway is not concerned with who you are, what your income level is, they have a job to enforce the law. When the disconnect occurs, this mission becomes blurred for the officer doing the job. The combination of the new City Manager and Police Chief should give us all encouragement that the disconnect will fade. These gentlemen are well qualified and deserve a vote of confidence from all of us and encouragement to clean up our downtown now.
EugeneAdvocates suggested solutions are listed below. The City Manager and Police Chief need to implement solutions immediately and see the positive results. The new citizen groups will provide new longer term solutions:
SHORT TERM SOLUTIONS:
1. Oregon and the City of Eugene currently have laws on their books against trespassing, public urination, soliciting, unlicensed dogs, dogs without proper vaccinations, menacing, obstructing sidewalks, skateboards or bikes operating on sidewalks, public intoxication, defacing private property, graffiti, and others. One immediate solution is to enforce these laws with an active citation program flooding the downtown area with officers one day a week and continue the two bike officers four days a week pursuing the same active citation program. (Comfort zone)
2. Authorize the City Police Volunteers, Lane Transit Authority, Public Library officers, University of Oregon, LCARA officers, parking officers, and Red Hats with the responsibility to issue citations for dogs without licenses, graffiti, public urination, indecency, blocking sidewalks, bike or skateboarding on public sidewalks, and other nonviolent crimes. In addition empower each organization to report to the Eugene Police other law violations that they see on their respective beats. (More eyes and ears-caution zone)
3. Eliminate the disconnect and endorse full action by the police department to enforce the laws of Eugene.
4. Increase the scope of the downtown zone to include exclusion by anyone receiving a citation for the violations found in #2 above. (comfort zone)
LONG TERM SOLUTIONS:
1. Create and implement a vagrancy law and a loitering law using those laws others have successfully enacted.
2. Create a misdemeanor confinement in the Forest Work Camp, Serbu Juvenile Center, lease a non-used wing of the county jail, or a new confinement structure perhaps on the same footprint as the Police Department.
3. Create a set of City economic priorities recognizing Public Safety as the primary responsibility of government to it's citizens.
4. Create new sources of funding for other lesser priority services.
5. Transfer county services which the Mayor identified as a source of challenges to more remote areas allowing LTD to service those areas.
6. Create an ordinance to outlaw mobile signs displayed on public property.
In summary, to the credit of the Mayor and her Council they have "...responded to concerns about downtown by imposing a downtown exclusion zone to ban certain offenders from the area; promoting entertainment and public events in the city center; helping to pay for red-capped downtown guides' and trying to encourage downtown redevelopment." This has helped but not fixed the problems.The smoking ban around the library is a positive step if implemented and enforced. Thus let's all move forward forgetting who we are and concentrating on the solutions necessary to reopen downtown Eugene to business activities. Problem solving is good and healthy.
EugeneAdvocates for a Clean City