Tag Archive for: camping ban


 Blair Best


PORTLAND, Ore. — After the city of Portland’s daytime ban on homeless camping on most city property was put on pause, some from the homeless community and advocacy groups are breathing a sigh of relief — for now.

A group of homeless Portlanders had sued the city, calling it unconstitutional given the lack of shelter space in Portland. A circuit court judge ruled in their favor, temporarily blocking the city from enforcing it.

“It’s unconstitutional. It is,” said Patrick, who is homeless. “We have the freedom to be, as long as we’re not making a mess, as long as we’re not destroying property; the spaces are here.”

In June, the city passed the ban; repeat violations of that ban would have resulted in fines or jail time. The city spent the summer and much of the fall in what they called an “educational phase,” where they informed homeless people about it, though many homeless people still know little about the ban. Then, at the end of October, the city announced they would begin enforcement on Nov. 13, but late Thursday afternoon, a judge blocked the city from doing that for the time being, arguing that the ban itself is unconstitutional.

“It’s super confusing, and it’s super stressful. People come here with a lot of anxiety already,” said Katie O’Brien, the executive director of Rose Haven, a day center for homeless women and children in Northwest Portland. She says they were bracing for an overwhelming demand in services if the ban went into effect.

“There was this relief that came with knowing that there was going to be a pause,” O’Brien added. She said she hopes the city will use this time to create a more organized approach to addressing homelessness, which she says recent efforts have lacked.

“Communication and coordination and additional resources being available is going to be the key to success in getting people off our streets,” O’Brien said.

Mayor Ted Wheeler issued a statement regarding Thursday’s ruling, saying in part, “I believe the status quo is not working, but the Court’s decision leaves the status quo in place. The City will abide by the Court’s preliminary order while continuing to fight in court for the City’s right to adopt reasonable regulations on unsanctioned camping.”

Last year, a group of Portlanders with disabilities sued the city over tents blocking ADA access on the sidewalks. A judge ruled in their favor, and the city agreed to clear those types of campsites. The lawyers behind that case tell KGW that an update on that is coming soon.


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The fate of the city’s daytime camping ban will be heard in court Thursday, Nov. 9 when a judge decides whether to temporarily block the ban from going into effect.

The camping ban is expected to go into effect on Monday, but has already impacted service providers, who say they are already at capacity. One shelter, Rose Haven, said people are afraid of their belongings being swept with no place to go during the day.

The impending decision follows a lawsuit from the Oregon Law Center that represented people who are homeless. A judge will hear arguments from them Thursday morning about whether the camping ban should be temporarily blocked until a full trial can be conducted.

In June, Portland City Council passed an ordinance to ban camping near public places from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It also forbids camping near parks, docks, schools and construction zones. Those found violating the ban could be subject to a $100-dollar fine or 30 days in jail.

Since then, Development Director Liz Starke said Rose Haven has gotten especially busy.

“We’ve kind of turned into first responders, but that’s really not what our mission is,” she said. “We’re a community center.”

On Tuesday, the day shelter for women and children served a record 175 people. Starke believes Portland’s announcement of the camping ban and its pending enforcement are part of the reason why.

“As soon as they announced the camping ban, they didn’t really have to enforce it,” she said. “Word is on the streets and people are scared. So we are dealing with increased escalation, just really severe mental health needs because folks are afraid that their stuff is going to be thrown away”.

The lawsuit alleged that the ordinance is impossible to understand and the city hasn’t provided useful guidance on where people can camp.

The city has handed out informational packets telling people where they cannot camp during the daytime ban, but the suit says there’s little-to-no information about where people may otherwise go.

A map exists online, but OLC claims it directs people to private property where they are subject to trespassing.

And while the city does not comment on pending litigation, Portland attorneys said in a legal response that the lawsuit makes the ordinance appear more restrictive than it is.

The city and Multnomah County have allocated more than $3 million from the Supportive Housing Tax so people can store their belongings during the day, but Starke says there are not enough of those places for everyone who is homeless in the city.

Plus, she said it’s not easy for service providers to expand – especially Rose Haven, which tripled its capacity in 2022.

“We need more temporary shelter, we need more wraparound services, but we certainly need more daytime services if it is not legal to be in one place,” Starke said.