Portland camping ban passes council vote 3-1

Portland City Hall approved a camping ban following a 3-1 vote on Wednesday.
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 5:39 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – Portland City Council voted in favor of an updated camping ban Wednesday, the latest development in the city’s efforts to reduce homelessness.

The ban focusing on day-time camping was passed by council 3-1, with Commissioner Carmen Rubio Voting no. Commissioner Mingus Mapps was absent and not voting, but issued a statement read by Mayor Ted Wheeler at council saying he supports the ban.

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Commissioner Dan Ryan, speaking in support, said the ordinance was focused on unhoused people who are suffering from addiction and refusing services.

“There are many people on our streets who refuse these services,” Ryan said. “For those refusing, we need to stop enabling and allowing people to do illegal things on the streets. We need accountability.”

Commissioner Rene Gonzalez, also speaking in favor of the ordinance, said that while he has concerns about the complexity of enforcement, he doesn’t want to sacrifice the good for the perfect.

“The homeless problem is complex, there are multiple segments within that population,” Gonzalez said. “Those that we need to continue to offer a helping hand to, and then others that we need to drive out of the city. And when we talk about driving out of the city – that’s criminal behavior.

Wheeler, after reading a statement by Mapps in support of the ordinance, said it will comply with recent state legislation, orders by Governor Kotek and ensures the city is accessible for disabled residents.

Rubio said she was concerned that the ordinance had been developed too quickly.

“I need to see that this ordinance is planful about its impact and does not cause harm,” Rubio said. “As I said last week – this council had a public discussion last year about our values related to camping bans. And while we agreed a policy needed to be discussed and put on the table for the future, we also committed to exclude any provisions that would criminalize people solely for being homeless, and it’s not clear to me at this time if this ordinance maintains that commitment.”

RELATED: Portland city council hears public testimony on new homeless camping ban

With the ban, Portland will be in compliance with Oregon House Bill 3115, which governs homeless camping and the reasonable time, place, and manner that permit people who are homeless to temporarily camp in reasonably safe and sanitary locations while they are actively seeking access to stable housing, as well as to adopt reasonable policies related to the removal of established camping sites.

The ban will be phased in beginning July 1.