Homeless village site chosen in Eugene

The Associated Press /

Published Dec 12, 2012 at 04:00AM

EUGENE — Pitched as a “micro-housing pilot project” for the homeless, a small wood-and-vinyl village received initial approval from the Eugene City Council.

Proponents said the dangers of living on the streets range from physical violence to the threat of arrest, in addition to the winter cold.

On Monday, the council voted 6-1 to pick a vacant city-owned lot for the homeless village, though it won’t be ready by the winter deadline organizers hoped for.

The vote will allow city staff to select a nonprofit to operate what will be called Opportunity Village Eugene. The council also indicated it would approve 6-by-14-foot wood and vinyl structures called Conestoga huts.

The village still needs a conditional use permit, so it may not open until spring, the Register-Guard reported.

“We’ve got a bunch of citizens who’ve put a huge amount of work into this proposal,” Councilor Alan Zelenka said after the vote. “I didn’t want to wait another month (to vote). I felt we had enough information to move ahead now.”

Zelenka cautioned that the process of securing a conditional-use permit for the homeless site could take four to six months, which means the village might not be operational until April or June, at the earliest.

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