Judge rules activist's rights violated in Free Speech Plaza

EUGENE, Ore. -- A Eugene Municipal Court judge ruled the county violated an activist's constitutional rights when they cited her for trespassing in December.

The activist, Alley Valkyrie, said the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza shouldn't have been closed.

"It's real easy for people who've never experienced poverty to cast judgments on those who live in poverty," said Valkyrie. "The idea that someone dropped their pants and pooped in that planter is absolutely absurd."

Former Lane County Administrator Liane Richardson claims that's why the free speech plaza was shut down for four days in December.

That's when Alley Valkyrie decided to risk arrest by entering the plaza.

As she put it, it wasn't closed because a group of homeless people pitched tents there to protest for safe, legally entitled places to sleep with the SLEEPS campaign.

"I knew she was lying, so it was just one of those things where I was like 'let me just make a statement and we'll get this to court and see who's right'," Valkyrie said.

Judge Stenard ruled the county's reason for closing the Free Speech Plaza too broad, saying it's unconstitutional to kick people out.

Our news staff called both the county and the court for their comment, neither returned our calls.

"What would Wayne do? Really you have Wayne Morse standing here, who's just like the Oregon pinnacle of free speech and there shutting it down," said Valkyrie.

Judge Stenard will also rule on a companion case involving 21 other SLEEPS protesters who were cited for curfew violations.

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