Where is the City Leadership?

By De-escalate Eugene June 4, 2020

By De-escalate Eugene

June 4, 2020

“We’re billing the City of Eugene for doing their job for them.”

Thousands of people have protested in our community this past week in support of black lives and against police brutality. The protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful. And the City’s response? Eugene Police Department (EPD) has brought out all of its military equipment and put its full military force on display. They have repeatedly used tear gas, a known lung irritant, against our community—not just protesters. An elderly bystander was pepper-sprayed while filming on the sidewalk, and multiple journalists were tear gassed without warning. There are also reports that EPD has been using expired tear gas, which breaks down into lethal cyanide. This is all happening during the COVID-19 pandemic, which affects the lungs and can result in death, and impacts black and brown communities disproportionately.

Meanwhile, EPD is stalking and hunting down peaceful protesters, for violating artificial and poorly communicated curfews, and for “blocking traffic,” often when there is no traffic. All to exact revenge for the property damage done by a few people on Friday? ‘Hunting’ seems like an exaggeration, you say? An officer was overhead on the police scanner saying, “When you go hunting, you aim to shoot.”

What is the City of Eugene doing? Where is the leadership? Where are the City’s resources going? These are among the many questions that an informal de-escalation group are asking. The group was formed in response to the “God, Guns, and Trump” and other similar rallies in an effort to interrupt inflammatory escalation strategies from armed white supremacist provocateurs targeting marginalized communities. The de-escalation group has been on the ground this past week, and now they are advocating for the city to deescalate its police force.

Once again, the far-right is openly armed in our city. They have formed their own police force that is following the marches of nonviolent protesters with their personal vehicles, patrolling downtown, surreptitiously filming people, threatening protesters, attempting to run over protesters, and promising to shoot anyone who harms private property. Many groups have documented these behaviors. EPD, for the most part, is absent, standing by, or overtly assisting. In fact, EPD apparently allowed one agitator, who recklessly drove into a group of marching protesters and got out of his vehicle brandishing an assault rifle in the middle of the crowd, to drive away after they pulled him over.

Members of the de-escalation group have intervened multiple times over the past week to protect peaceful protesters from being shot or run over by armed extremists. That’s right, members of our community doing the cops’ job for them, without weapons, for free.

One of the de-escalators stated: “We need to write up an invoice for our supplies and people hours and send it over to the City. We’ve all put in our full forty for the City. Let’s present the Mayor with the bill and let her know that the invoice is payable to the food bank.”

On Sunday night, the cops, with their full military force, were the ones rioting. EPD was pursuing, threatening, and assaulting young protesters with tear gas and pepper balls on the streets of downtown Eugene. Just blocks away, the far-right had its own patrol—truckloads of armed, angry, white men—with ostensibly the same purpose.

Despite EPD’s recent efforts to increase its budget, this week’s unethical policing clearly demonstrates the need to allocate City resources elsewhere. As we hear calls to defund and demilitarize police forces around the nation, we echo those calls in Eugene. Eugene desperately needs increased accountability and transparency for EPD and the City Manager and increased funding to de-escalation services and other community-driven solutions, like CAHOOTS.

As of now, City of Eugene officials from the top down are complicit in EPD’s use of excessive force against people protesting police brutality. People are grieving monumental losses to police violence. At this moment in history, while homelessness runs unabated, a pandemic threatens the well-being of our entire community, and white supremacists attempt violence on peaceful residents, our City funds not relief, but fear and violence doled out by EPD. Is this the response our City wants to be remembered for?

#DefundEPD  #DemilitarizeEPD #DeescalateEPD

Dancing for justice: Sunrise Eugene benefit show

…environment is pretty punk,” a message that surely their audience that night would agree with. This attitude made them perfect for a Sunrise Eugene benefit show.  Sunrise Eugene’s movement is…

Community Organizations Rally In Cars In Support Of Mass Prisoner Release

…call on Governor Kate Brown, Sheriff Mike Reese, and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury to release people from Oregon’s prisons, jails, and immigration jails.  This action highlights the importance of…

Anti-Hate Action At Elkhorn

…involvement in the anti-homeless group Eugene Wake Up.  The activists displayed a banner which read “House Keys not Handcuffs” and delivered a speech by megaphone about Eugene Wake Up’s cruel…

University of Oregon Expands! Eugene’s Housing Crisis

In 2016, The University of Oregon announced plans to host the Olympic Trials in 2020 and subsequent championships in 2021. Between the two events, our small riverside city expects an…


…Courthouse in downtown Eugene. Around 8:40pm protestors began marching through downtown Eugene and headed towards the police headquarters. Along the way, people joined and the crowd quickly grew to approximately…

Community Members Distribute Bread and Roses to Support their Neighbors during the COVID-19 Quarantine

EUGENE, OR​ – This morning, many Eugene residents awoke to find a package on their doorstep. Hours earlier, just before dawn, several gloved-and-masked locals had made the deliveries around their…

Ashes to Masses

…numbers do not satisfy. As of June 2020, over 2,000 unhoused individuals live in the Eugene area. In Lane County, the number neared 10,000 in 2019. Community members in Eugene

Charlie Landeros: A Memorial

…continued their activism on multiple fronts. Eugene City Council records show Landeros was present on several occasions to support measures such as making Eugene a sanctuary city and support of…

Tree Sitters and Community Members Converge to Protest Willamette Greenway Clear-Cut

…We hold this as a more just vision for the open-space and fot\r our community. We are calling on our leadership; the City of Eugene and Lane County to stand…

Students for Sustainable Development: ACTION PRESS RELEASE

On December 4th, University of Oregon students part of the informal group, Students for Sustainable Development, zip-tied protest signs on the fencing surrounding Hayward field, and on the recently…

Peaceful George Floyd protest leads to arrests

…all of Eugene, protestors then began to march throughout downtown, an act which provoked police to trail the crowds and block off streets to direct protestors to the site of…

Hunger Strike at Lane County Jail

…joined by solidarity strikers who would refuse one or several meals, and there were others who would eat only commissary.  The demands of the strike were:  The release of all…

FUCK 12: 5/29 Riot Aftermath

On 5/29, fury swept the streets of Eugene as a large crowd demonstrated against police violence in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. The demonstration, beginning around 8:00pm,…