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Police Increase Presence at Park Blocks in Downtown Eugene

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EUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene Police Department is working to clean up behavior in the Park Blocks.

Police increased their presence in the downtown area on Monday, hoping to make everyone feel safe and welcome.

Chief Pete Kerns said they saw an increase in both intimidating and criminal behavior in the Park Blocks during the summer. In October, a riot nearly broke out during a drug arrest there.

They now have 4 to 5 officers, along with a Sergeant, stationed in the Park Blocks and its’ surrounding area. Chief Kerns said EPD’s original downtown team is not part of these patrols.

He said their goal is simple: to ease fears and make everyone feel welcome.

“The park was no longer welcoming to everybody and the goal for our downtown has been to make it safe for everyone, regardless of economic status, [or] housing status,” said Chief Kerns. 

He said they are particularly concerned with the welfare of city youth living on the streets and that they’ll also be working with Cahoots and other organizations to help them. He also said law breakers will not be tolerated.

Chief Kerns said the exact timeline of how long officers will be out there hasn’t been determined yet.

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