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EUGENE, Ore. — A consultant hired to help improve downtown Eugene has told city leaders the area is in “crisis” and is widely considered unsafe.

Vice president and design director Meg Walker said last week that her New York-based firm, Project for Public Spaces, has found problems with homelessness, but the situation in Eugene is the most serious she’s seen.

Because Eugene is small, “and this (homeless) population is concentrated in a small area, it does come across as a much more serious problem than it would in another city like Seattle or Portland or New York City, where it’s more diffused,” Walker said.

Homelessness


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In a survey, many residents said they avoid downtown because they feel unsafe or intimidated, according to Walker.

The Register-Guard reported that Walker and her colleagues propose upgrades such as moving stone walls and shrubbery that make some areas seem insular and bringing in more adult-oriented activities such as chess, yoga or dancing to some public spaces.