Used to be, this area in what is called "downtown" is a free speech area. In fact, it is called "The Free Speech Plaza" and has been known and used as such for some time. For some reason, abruptly and arbitrarily, county administrator Liane Richardson decided to close off the area (fence all around) at the free speech plaza "for cleaning." In a previous article, Liane Richardson was quoted as saying the area was closed for "health and safety" reasons. "
It's really about control -- this is the same area that so far, has managed to legally get away with their "exclusion zone" policy. A citizen can be banned from downtown for up to a year. It's also about ignoring the homeless. "Camping" is illegal on city "public" property. The timing is interesting; it's winter in Oregon, the Christmas season, and we expect the homeless to just go away. Can't have homeless in sight as we go about our shopping.
See Occupy Eugene for links and info on these issues.