'We need to be more sympathetic': Beaverton wants to amend its homeless camping ban

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BEAVERTON, OR (KPTV) - A controversial ordinance passed earlier this year that prohibits people in Beaverton from camping in their vehicles on commercial parking lots may soon be amended.

The amendment would add exceptions to the ordinance and goes hand-in-hand with an initiative the mayor’s office is working on called “The Safe Parking Program”.

Under the new ordinance, owners of commercial parking lots could allow campers if authorized by the mayor under the pilot program and if they meet several other requirements.

A spokesperson says the program is modeled after a similar successful program in Eugene.

Some residents Monday said they are in favor of the changes, but understand why other people might be against them.

“I can understand how people would be concerned,” David Raboin said. “These people aren’t choosing to be in these desperate situations. It’s a really big problem. I’m not sure what the answer is but, in general, we need to be more sympathetic.”

The requirements parking lot owners would need to meet in order to allow camping include having a sanitary facility on location with a port-a-potty and hand-washing station.

The owner would also need to have a storage where campers could keep their belongings. The city says it hopes to provide the required items at no cost to the lot owners.

As part of the agreement, owners would also need to provide the program’s manager access to the campers, so they can offer them other services, such as job and housing placement.

A city spokesperson says the new code could be approved next week.

Copyright 2018 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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