City to start the Whoville move out process for April 15 deadline

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EUGENE, Ore. -- The City of Eugene is starting the moving process for the dozens of homeless campers living in a vacant lot on Broadway and Hilyard St. Tuesday in the hopes of having the camp cleared by the April 15 closure deadline.

City councilors voted the illegal camp, dubbed "Whoville", must shut down no later than April 15.

On Tuesday, a team of about 30 is going to start helping campers with moving process. Heading the project is Deputy Chief Joe Zaludek of the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department's Special Operations.

"The interest is to help the individuals that are here, to transition to the rest stop near The Science Factory," said Zaludek.

"It's a certainty that at least an interim site will be established out there, even though The Science Factory does not want it there," said Michael Carrigan, a member of the Community Alliance of Lane County.

SLEEPS movement supporters tried to schedule a meeting with city manager Jon Ruiz on Monday to push back the move-out process until April 9, when the city council returns from spring break.

"It's too fast. This is a complex place. We've got a lot to do," said Carrigan, "The city feels they have to get something started. We're saying, let's wait. Let's find the best location."

Workers put a fence around the Whoville Camp January 24, a week after the City of Eugene put up "no trespassing" signs at the property.

The Whoville Camp was initially started in north Eugene as a part of the S.L.E.E.P.S. protest.

"Homelessness is a problem out here. Something we don't have a cure for, and it's evolving. So we have to address the issue and figure out where they're going to go," said Michael Sandlin of the Whoville Coalition.