With a single email sent the Thursday before last, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy reignited an old but evergreen debate in our city: Should people be bothered by downtown’s ubiquitous homeless and transient population and, if so, what can be done to resolve the issue?
In the note to the Eugene City Council, Piercy, whose 12-year term as mayor will end next year, veered between cautious and firm. She made a careful distinction between the local homeless population and “travelers,” outsiders who, she said, are at times “actually controlling … our corners, our plazas, our public spaces.”
“I am tired of being told we are cruel or overindulgent,” she wrote. “I believe we are a kind community, a compassionate community and one that is not blind to things that are not working and not good for anyone.”
“We’ve been at this for decades,” she added. “Time to stop.”