EUGENE — City workers in Eugene have pruned 11 large rosebushes that line the entry into the Owen Rose Garden next to the Willamette River in an attempt to deter illegal camping by homeless people.
The Register-Guard reports that officials plan to replant them in the garden proper later this year when they're dormant and have a better chance to survive the move.
The shrubbery provided cover to a homeless camp that was set up within a nearby fenced-off area. The Oregon Department of Transportation installed the fences to keep people away from the adjacent Interstate 105 and the area underneath it.
Last week, a Lane County Sheriff's Office work crew removed overgrown vegetation on ODOT-owned property behind the fence.
But neighbors say the fence hasn't proved much of a deterrent to the homeless. They have cut holes in it to illegally camp in the area and engage in nuisance and illegal activity.
Kevin Foerstler, a supervisor for the city's parks department, said illegal camping in the area has ramped up recently and prompted neighbors to call police.
The neighborhood is the home of the Eugene Mission, where hundreds of people sleep and eat each day. The city's five sanctioned overnight homeless camps, or rest stops, are in the neighborhood or close to its western boundary.
Clay Manders, the garden's field lead, said the roses were planted about a half-century ago when the boundaries of the garden extended far beyond where they are today.
Manders said the roses will be dug up and replanted when they're dormant in November or December. Their survival is not guaranteed.
"We're going to do our best to try and preserve them," she said.
Manders added: "I'd like to be able to leave them where they are. Until things change with the culture around illegal camping, then (moving them is) what we have to do."