Eugene City Council moves forward with policy to control unruly house parties

The Eugene City Council held a work session for its social host ordinance draft on Wednesday at the Eugene Public Library. The city council passed the motion to move the revised ordinance forward to a public hearing on Nov. 19.

The social host ordinance holds those accountable for unruly social gatherings, with the first three offenses involving augmented fines. The fourth offense would involve contact with the host’s landlord. The council has yet to determine a reasonable fine for the first three offenses.

The council does not want the ordinance to be viewed in a negative light due to the fines, or to only target certain population, or to prohibit parties entirely.

“My ultimate goal would be that we have some positive impact on what has become a significant problem to residents that live in the campus area,” said Michael Kinnison, program manager of the city’s Neighborhood Services.

The City Council brought forth concerns of the ordinance, such as how it can affect the student community. One example is when the original proposal asked for a $500 fine, which was deemed too high for students.

“The University is doing many different things, so we’re trying to look at a full spectrum of options from education to enforcement, and to encourage responsible behavior,” Kinnison said.

“I would like to see the University make clear to the students that their education is going to be affected if they continue to act inappropriately in the community,” presiding municipal court Judge Wayne Allen said. “I think the University probably has more tools than I know of, so I’m not proposing to the University, ‘please do x or y.’ There is a fair fine for the overall amount for the overall situation, and I guess you have to determine that on a case-by-case basis.”

The social host ordinance is part of a multi-pronged approach to improving livability in campus area neighborhoods and assures that innocent hosts will not be penalized.

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