New Oregon laws have compelled the City of Salem to make adjustments to its controversial sidewalk camping ban rules.
The City Council of Salem held a meeting to discuss the modifications to the existing ban, which had been put in place a few years ago.
However, with new laws enacted in Oregon due to federal court rulings, the city needed to align its regulations regarding homeless camping by July.
The proposed camping ban aims to designate specific areas where camping is prohibited for individuals.
Salem residents provided testimony during the meeting regarding the new U.S.
ordinance on homeless regulations.
To understand the context, it is important to remember how this situation unfolded.
In early 2020, the Salem City Council passed rules that prohibited people from sitting or lying on public sidewalks during the day.
Although the current city code states that leaving belongings unattended is not allowed, the city had never enforced this provision.
This controversial decision was made at a time when downtown Salem businesses were struggling with the homeless crisis.
However, in 2021, Oregon lawmakers passed two bills that restricted how cities and counties could regulate camping on public property.
As a result, the City of Salem now needs to ensure compliance with these new laws.
According to council members, the changes are aimed at codifying recent case law, incorporating new state legislation, and considering the city’s current practices.
The proposed ordinance would repeal the city’s current restrictions on sitting and lying on sidewalks while maintaining camping limitations in parks, building entrances, residential zones near shelters, and vision clearance areas such as intersections.
The council unanimously voted in favor of the ordinance, signaling its acceptance.
Under the new law, the city is required to provide a three-day notice before clearing camps, safely store collected property, and establish public places where homeless individuals can go.
The motion passed during the meeting, and Salem, like Westland, must also ensure its code aligns with the new state and federal standards by July 1st of this year.
The meeting also touched upon the increasing number of evictions in Oregon, highlighting the urgency to address homelessness and related issues in the state.