Nudists hold rummage sale to fight 'No Trespass' rule on public land

EUGENE, Ore. - Open access advocates are fighting to keep a nude island open to foot traffic by hosting weekly roadside rummage sale rallies on county property.

"We're just getting started," said David Strahan at the sale on Easter Sunday. "We're not going anywhere. We're not going away, not until the public gets resolution that the public wants on this."

Strahan told KVAL News that this was the third sale held by a "coalition of concerned citizens" off the side of Seavey Loop Road near Franklin Boulevard.

"This money is going directly towards paying the legal costs, the printing and retaining some kind of representation about getting this place opened back up to the public," said Strahan.

No trespassing signs are visible from the roadway, posted along a fence that sections off a 63-acre parcel of county-owned land called Turtle Flats.

"And they're closing this little strip off so we can't access the park at the back side of it," said Strahan to a customer who asked why he was holding the sale.

Strahan and others have been using this land to walk and bike onto state-owned Glass Bar Island Park located at the confluence of the Willamette River.

Lane County officials said Glass Bar Island, well known for the nudists groups who have gathered there for decades, is a water-access only park.

Turtle Flats is managed by Lane County Waste Management Division, but the Board of Commission unanimously voted in March to sell it to the Friends of Buford Park & Mount Pisgah for habitat restoration.

Before the vote, Lane County stepped up enforcement of the no trespassing rule.

"I want to go down there," said nearby resident Jo Stephens at the sale on Sunday. "I want to be able to do down there if I feel like it and not have them close it off on me. What right to they have to sell it? I have the right to the property too."

Stephens donated $50 to the sale and walked away with some Easter gifts for her grandchildren.

On Monday Lane County waste management manager Patti Hansen said officials were not aware of the rummage sales held off Seavey Loop Road. She said the activists did not ask permission to have the sale on their property, and that future sales will be considered trespassing.

"If they refuse to leave we'll have to call the sheriff and take it from there," said Hansen over the phone on Monday.

The department also parked a county employee in a marked truck near the "No Trespassing" signs.