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City of Eugene ends downtown dog ban


City councilors in Eugene have opted to let lapse a ban on dogs in part of downtown — but at the same time many of them are saying the ban “worked,” that it was never intended to be permanent, and that it may be back someday.

Yes, they are all over the place, those councilors. But as of Nov. 1 dogs can return to the center city area bounded by Lincoln Street to the west, Eighth Avenue to the north, Pearl Street to the east and 10th/11th Avenue to the south.

The ban did not apply to owning a dog within the boundaries, just to those visitors who brought their dogs along to walk the streets or dine in restaurants.

Critics maintained the ban, approved by the city council in April, was actually aimed at homeless people and their dogs and encourage them to — if they wanted to keep their dogs — relocate elsewhere.

The ban was one of several initiatives the city launched over the summer to try to make the area safer and more welcoming, such as an increased police presence downtown, more programs and events in public spaces within the area and “expanded outreach” to chronic offenders on the streets.

Some councilors, and the organization that pushed for the dog ban to be enacted — The Downtown Stakeholders Group, made up of downtown business and property owners — say they could still seek to get it reinstated.

The ban was passed with the understanding that it would expire in six months if the council didn’t vote to extend it.

eugeneweeklyNow, the council has opted, after the ban met with much protest, to let it expire.

After it does, on Nov. 1, reinstating would require the council to hold a public hearing and two public votes.

Councilors say that, taken together, the initiatives improved the atmosphere downtown and attracted more people to public spaces. But they say measuring which particular initiatives were most responsible for that is difficult.

The city has yet to compile information on how many citations were issued for dog ban violations, or whether they were more often issued to the homeless, the Eugene Register-Guard reported.

During a council meeting last Monday, three people encouraged councilors to let the ban lapse, and one compared it to racism.

Eugene resident Mel Hite accused police officers of stopping and ticketing dogs controlled by the homeless and ignoring dogs controlled by “housed owners … It appears this is doggy racism based on the class of the person holding the leash,” she said.

(Photos of Eugene protests, from KEZI (top) and Eugene Weekly)


Comment from Rox
Time October 16, 2017 at 10:57 pm

I live near Eugene. I cannot say enough bad about Eugene. I have to work in Eugene, unfortunately, because there aren’t many jobs in my own small town a ways away. If there is a more mismanaged, filthy, stoner-ridden racist and class-conscious town than Eugene I would be amazed to hear of it. People tend to think that a couple of New Jersey towns that regularly make the news are the worst in the US. Well — Eugene could give lessons to those hard core urban nightmares. And the worst for me as a dog lover is this: the police, prosecutors and judges do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about animal cruelty issues – starvation, neglect, brutality, you name it. Animal abusers have a free pass in Eugene – yet the city council thinks it can “improve” the city (read: get rid of the homeless population) by BANNING dogs. Of COURSE it did not work – what little “enforcing” being done was cops menacingly approaching tourists or downtown workers who bring their dogs to work. Meanwhile stoned drivers are running down pedestrians in crosswalks, stoned cyclists are running down pedestrians on the sidewalk, and the homeless population are occupying every available doorway because the city and the county refuse to do anything POSITIVE about the dire homeless situation. I’m betting you won’t want to print this but I wish you would. People need to know what a terrible place Eugene is. If I didn’t need my job so badly there is no way I would ever set foot in the place ever again.