[Hpn] ALERT: Portland Police EVICT HOMELESS CAMPS despite judge's ruling - OR USA Dec 25 (fwd) ruling - OR USA Dec 25 (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Mon, 25 Dec 2000 19:23:40 -0800 (PST)

CIRCULATE PLEASE to nonviolent defenders of Homeless People's Civil Rights: Since a judge ruled Portland, Oregon's "Anti-Camping law" UNCONSTITUTIONAL, police are now using "other ordinances" to close down homeless camps. http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis/web/vortex/display?slug= homeless25m&date=20001225 FWD Seattle Times - Monday, December 25, 2000 NO ARRESTS SINCE PORTLAND HOMELESS-CAMPS RULING By The Associated Press PORTLAND (Oregon, USA) - Police officers have not arrested anyone under the city's anti-camping ordinance since a judge ruled the law unconstitutional three months ago. Instead, officers have been working with outreach workers and using other ordinances to close down homeless camps. Meanwhile, the city attorney's office maintains the scope of the judge's ruling is limited and the anti-camping law could be used again if needed. More than 20 local religious leaders delivered a letter to Mayor Vera Katz last week in support of the judge's ruling. They asked her to budget more money for affordable housing and homeless-assistance programs. "If I was the mayor and the police chief was to come into my office, I would say to follow the law," said Chuck Currie, director of community outreach for First United Methodist Church. "And the law says the anti-camping ordinance is unconstitutional." The city's 19-year-old anti-camping ordinance allows police to conduct sweeps and evict people from camps or other places where people sleep and keep belongings. It survived legal challenges until a father and son were cited in February while living in their pickup. In that case, Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Gallagher Jr. ruled the anti-camping ordinance is unconstitutional and "punishes the status of being homeless." That ruling has been appealed to the state Court of Appeals, said Jim Van Dyke, a city attorney. He expects a decision by fall 2001. "The judge's decision came in the context of a single criminal case in which two people were charged," Van Dyke said. "The judge did not prohibit the city from ever using the ordinance again, and I think people don't understand that. And I understand why. It's confusing." Central Precinct police also haven't arrested anyone for trespassing or sleeping in parks after hours since September, Sgt. Jim Powell said. Instead, officers visit camps daily with staff members of Join, a nonprofit group that helps homeless people find housing. More affordable housing and assistance programs are needed, Currie said. "We need to find permanent solutions and not Band-Aid solutions to this issue," he said. Rob Justus, the director of Join, said his organization puts one homeless person into permanent housing each day. "And to me, that's the ultimate success," Justus said. END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** *********************************************************** 9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***********************************************************