SALEM, OR (KPTV) – Homeless advocates are taking on the city of Salem’s proposed sit-lie ordinance. They’re calling it discriminatory.
The city’s plans to green-light the ordinance failed in 2017 and the effort was revived in July.
It stems from complaints from business owners, workers and visitors who say they’ve had trouble with the city’s homeless sleeping in doorways and camping on sidewalks.
Under the ordinance, sleeping or lying on the sidewalk would not be allowed from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Campsites would not be allowed on sidewalks. Leaving personal property unattended would not be allowed at any time.
Salem’s urban development director, Kristin Retherford, told FOX 12 in July that the city is trying many solutions, including working on affordable housing.
“We are really trying to tackle the numerous challenges in as many different ways as can,” Retherford said. “We are trying to find a middle ground here that would hopefully be palatable to interests on both sides of this issue.”
But advocates for the homeless submitted a letter to the city. They say the ordinance is “an instrument designed to treat the homeless as alien to the mainstream, to erase them from visibility, and to exclude and segregate them from the communities of local businesses and neighborhoods.”
The city’s attorney told FOX 12 the ordinance is legal and constitutional and that the arguments provided in the testimony misinterpret the law.
The city council votes on the proposal on Nov. 25.
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