A city of Salem Public Works truck parked at Marion Square Park, across the street from an encampment that encircled The ARCHES Project in 2019. (Troy Brynelson/Salem Reporter)
The Oregon Legislature passed a bill on Wednesday prohibiting local governments from penalizing unsheltered people for resting in outdoor public areas if they have nowhere else to go.
THE ISSUE: Salem and other Oregon cities have seen increases in homelessness. But many local jurisdictions have ordinances on the books that are in conflict with a landmark court ruling decriminalizing homelessness.
THE BILL: House Bill 3115
WHAT IT DOES: Requires that by July 2023, counties and cities regulation “of sitting, lying, sleeping, or keeping warm and dry in outdoor public spaces be objectively reasonable as to time, place, and manner with regards to persons experiencing homelessness.” The bill allows unsheltered people to take legal action against local governments who violate the bill, which has county and city officials concerned.
WHY IT WAS PROPOSED: The bill seeks to bring Oregon in line with the 2018 Martin v. Boise federal court ruling that determined local governments can’t penalize people for lying, sitting or sleeping on the streets if they have nowhere else to go.
HOW THE MARION/POLK DELEGATION VOTED:
The bill passed the Oregon Senate on June 9 on a 18-12 vote.
Sen. Brian Boquist, I-Dallas: No
Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem: Yes
Sen. Fred Girod, R-Lyons: No
Sen. Deb Patterson, D-Salem: Yes
Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer: No
The bill passed the Oregon House on April 19 on a 35-23 vote.
State Rep. Teresa Alonso León, D-Woodburn: Yes
State Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem: Excused
State Rep. Paul Evans, D-Monmouth: No
State Rep. Rick Lewis, R-Silverton: No
State Rep. Raquel Moore-Green, R-Salem: No
State Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence: No
State Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer: No
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: The bill now goes to the governor for her approval.