Downtown Businesses Thank City for Nixing City Hall Shelter

Letter refers to 'fragile' downtown

A letter signed by more than 30 downtown businesses gives praise to Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz and other city officials for canceling the previously planned temporary homeless day center and dusk-to-dawn site on the former City Hall lot.

The city had decided to create that temporary downtown shelter during an Oct. 22 meeting only to reverse that decision on Oct. 31, and instead partner with the county on the campsite off of Highway 99.

Eugene City Councilor Emily Semple stopped by the Eugene Weekly offices today, Nov. 15, to drop off a copy of the letter she and other council members received.

Semple says the letter was dated Nov. 8; she was out of town and did not see it until today.

The letter, with the Downtown Eugene Inc. logo in its top right corner, thanks the city on behalf of “neighbors, customers and employees” of downtown Eugene “stakeholders.”

“Our hope is that, as a community, we can continue to stay focused on that vision for a vibrant and healthy downtown and really truly understand the unique circumstances that make our downtown particularly fragile and consider those as we search for solutions to our homelessness crisis,” the letter reads. “We believe the plan to put a camp on the former City Hall site ignored the fragile nature of our downtown.”

It continues: “Downtown is already fraught with economic, health and safety problems that we have been trying to address, and we believe this would have amplified those issues and specifically sent us backwards on addressing the negative perception of downtown.

“We applaud our leaders for ultimately finding a better solution for both the homeless population our community was hoping to serve and our downtown.”

The letter continues with the request that downtown stakeholders are more involved in city decisions that may affect them, that the city listen better to stakeholders’ feedback, pair solutions to enforce the city’s camping ban in accordance with the law and “continue to work to give police officers the tools they need for enforcement and service.”

The letter ends: “Eugene’s downtown stakeholders want to be part of the solution, working in partnership with our elected and public officials. Our community will be most successful when we unite to solve problems together.”

The letter was signed by stakeholders including Downtown Eugene Inc., the Chamber of Commerce, the Technology Association of Oregon and more.

Here is the full letter including the list of signatures:

Update: This post has been updated to include the entirety of the letter.