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Police increase presence on streets for St. Paddy's Day

Eugene Police say because the holiday falls on a Friday this year, they are Ramping up their DUI patrol. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. – Many people in Eugene are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Expect more police officers patrolling the roads this holiday weekend.

Eugene Police say because the holiday falls on a Friday this year, they are ramping up their DUI patrol.

A state grant is allowing for extra staffing.

“We've had officers receive awards. We stop a lot of DUI drivers which is both a good thing and a bad thing," said Sgt. Gregg Magnus with the Eugene Police Department. "It's good that we're out there stopping it, it's a bad thing that there are so many in the area. But we do a lot of enforcement. We average anywhere from 50-60 per month of DUI stops and arrests."

University of Oregon police also have extra funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for extra DUI staffing.

“Whenever it happens, it's so dangerous to the drivers and other people on the road that one is too many. So we take it very seriously,” said Kelly McIver, Public Information Officer for University Police.

One student predicts that the majority of students will hit the library rather than the bars because it's finals week.

"I got really exciting plans. I’m going to go watch the Duck game and go to the library for the rest of the day," said junior Trevor Ashton. "I don't think there's going to be drinking in the library but I’m sure some 21 year olds might partake in having a beer or two with their friends."

Officials say DUI arrests aren't typically an issue on the UO campus.

McIver said it’s because many students who live on campus are under the legal drinking age. "What you hear about or what you think of in terms of parties around the university, would really be off campus areas, things happening in apartments or houses that are kind of in the near campus area.”

He said students often live on campus and walk to their destinations.

McIver said this holiday, there are several alcohol-free activities happening on-campus that are a safe alternative to partying.

All of the campus activities can be found on the calendar.uoregon.edu website.

Student health educators also went door-to-door in the neighborhoods surrounding campus passing out materials that encourage safe activities.

Police want to remind the public to find a designated driver before a night of drinking.

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