Saturday, April 29, 2023

Oregon, My Oregon

 John Sexton at Hat Hair, Oregon Democrats propose bill to decriminalize homeless camps

It feels like this was always inevitable in Portland though I doubt other cities in the state will be happy about it. The Oregon legislature is considering a bill which would decriminalize homeless camps in public spaces. Not only would HB 3501 make the camps themselves legal, they would give homeless people a right to privacy wherever they decide to pop up a tent. In fact, any homeless person being asked to move from their home would have the right to sue.
A new bill in the Oregon legislature is proposed as the Right to Rest Act. House Bill 3501 would decriminalize camping in public places…

Under HB3501, homeless individuals would be able to have “a privacy interest and a reasonable expectation of privacy in any property belonging to the person, regardless of whether the property is located in a public space” – i.e., granting the individual rights to treat public spaces like a private residence “without discrimination and time limitations that are based on housing status.” Homeless individuals would also be able to sue for up to $1,000 if swept, told to relocate, or otherwise “harassed” as per the bill.
CNN has some reactions to the bill from people on both sides:
“We cannot give these people legal protection to do as they please in our public spaces, and strip our citizens of their own rights to use these same spaces,” wrote Portland resident Carlin Scott. “Portland is struggling right now to retain residents, and the increasing encroachment of homeless camps on our public lands is a big reason why we’re losing residents.”…

Others who support the bill say they believe unhoused people are deserving of help just as anyone else is.

“For too long law enforcement has acted to effectively enclose public land from common use, especially use by down-on-their luck Oregonians,” said Jackson Miller, a Portland resident. “While this bill is no public housing guarantee or major zoning reform, it does seem like it will ensure certain rights of homeless individuals and as such represents an important step in the right direction.”

I hope the last taxpayer in Portland remembers to shut off the water when he/she/it leaves. 

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