FINALLY! CITY ACKNOWLEDGES SLEEPS HAS RIGHT TO PROTEST ON CITY LAND
After being unceremoniously kicked off City land twice and county land three times, the City has now advised SLEEPS that their legal team has switched position and agrees activists have the right to protest on public land. They also advised us that, even though Eugene municipal code forbids the use of tents, that they can now accept that they are “symbols” and thus free speech as SLEEPS has maintained.
It is unknown whether or not SLEEPS Activists plan to sue the city over the previous unconstitutional evictions of the unhoused protestors as part of their overarching legal challenges of laws that discriminate against the unhoused. The Civil Liberties Defense Center is currently developing a series of legal challenges focused on anti-sleeping laws as well as those used to harass those who are unhoused out of the downtown area.
This change in policy is an important step forward in SLEEPS’ campaign to effect meaningful change in Eugene’s anti-sleeping laws. “We were pretty surprised when we first started out to protest that federal, county and city governments all violated our rights to assemble and our free speech rights. We’ve had to spend several weeks now just protesting for the right to protest!”
With progress on the Federal and City level, on Monday SLEEPS will take a fourth “whack” at the County’s unconstitutional restrictions on free speech in order to be able to launch it’s protest against the county’s anti-sleeping laws.
Both City and County laws criminalize sleeping with Eugene’s first offense fine set at $200 for the use of a blanket, sleeping bag or tent on any public property or even in your own legally parked vehicle. There is nowhere to sleep. The anti-sleeping laws kill and have to be changed and SLEEPS is working to do just that.