PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Starting Thursday, the City of Salem changed its rules on homeless camping outdoors to better align with a 2021 state ruling that restricted how cities and counties can regulate camping.
One of the new requirements in this law requires city officials or law enforcement to give campers three days to move their belongings before clearing them. It also requires campers’ belongings to be stored for their retrieval.
Camping restrictions will still be enforced in parks, in front of buildings, near residential zones and in any area designated by the city manager as a no-camping zone.
The city also cannot charge a person or give out a fine to someone who is homeless and doesn’t have access to a shelter.
TJ Putman is the executive director of Family Promise of the mid-Willamette Valley, a Salem nonprofit serving families with children who are experiencing homelessness.
“I think it’s something that our community sees each day as we walk around and as we drive around. Our city cares and wants to do what’s best, but when you’re dealing with limited resources, it’s not just the city’s responsibility to help out,” Putman said.
However, he says housing is what the community needs going forward. He said that as housing costs go up, so will the rate of homelessness.