Camping is illegal in Eugene. People camp in Eugene. What's next?

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EUGENE, Ore. - Rusty holds a sign that says "Come Talk 2 Me Before You Judge Me" at the SLEEPS camp at the old federal courthouse downtown.

"I Could Be Your New Homeless Boyfriend," the sign reads.

Rusty doesn't like the way police have treated him.

And he thinks if people visited the camp and talked to him, they could find out who he really is.

"Everyone should be treated fairly," Rusty said.

What's fair may depend on whether you are camped out in public - or a member of the public driving by the camp.

Camping is illegal in public places in Eugene.

And people are camping in public places in Eugene.

The Eugene Police are enforcing the camping ban when called to do so by the owner of the property, Lt. Doug Mozan said. Officers post a 24-hour notice to the campers, then cite any campers who refuse to leave.

Those given a citation face a court date and a fine.

The City of Eugene is taking a passive approach with enforcement, Mayor Kitty Piercy said. She said protesters have a right to protest, but they don't have a right to camp.

She said the city can't just arrest or remove the homeless population. And The mayor expects the City Council to adopt a plan for "rest stops" before winter sets in.

The City of Eugene is holding a public hearing on proposed changes to the camping law Monday at 7:30 p.m. at Harris Hall in the Lane County Public Service Building, 125 East 8th Avenue.

No action is expected at the meeting, but the proposal includes provisions for some emergency camping opportunities.

Piercy said this isn't a problem the mayor and council alone can solve. She said the city will need the community's support to find a solution, and that it's not productive to just point fingers at the homeless and tell them to get a job.

Homeland Security and Federal Protection Services are monitoring the protestors at the old federal building. An officer parked across the street would not or could not say how the federal government would respond.