PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A stay has been temporarily issued for the City of Portland’s controversial daytime camping ban that has seen delays in enforcement since its passage in June.
Judge Rima Ghandour was set to decide Thursday whether to temporarily block the city of Portland’s daytime camping ban from going into effect. The judge decided that none of the daytime camping ban can be enforced — at least for now.
The camping ban initially was slated to go into effect in July and was then expected to be enforced starting Monday. It bans camping near public places from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and those violating the ban could be subject to a $100 fine or 30 days in jail.
The judge’s decision comes after hearing arguments in connection with a lawsuit filed by the Oregon Law Center, who says people without homes are afraid to be fined or jailed if they are found to violate the ban.
“The status quo is bad for my clients, and the issue before the court is how much worse can it get if this ordinance is enforced and, unfortunately, it can get a lot worse,” Attorney Edward Johnson said.
The judge’s ruling will be in effect until the completion of a full trial over the law’s legality can be held.
“The status quo is not addressing the problem and the city is not under the illusion this ordinance will solve the problem of homelessness, but the city does need the tools that are available to address the very significant issues that it faces,” Naomi Sheffield, the deputy city attorney for the City of Portland.
Rose Haven is one of the only day shelters in the city. They recently tripled their capacity but are still seeing an overwhelming need.
“We are at capacity every single day. We actually had a record 175 people here on Wednesday,” Development Director Liz Starke said. “Word has been on the street since July that your stuff is going to get thrown away, you’re not allowed to stay in one place.”
Advocates for the unhoused say there’s more work to be done and this pause is an opportunity to look at boosting day shelters and support services for those in need.
“Let’s be clear, the sweeps are still happening, it’s just that people are not going to be ticketed and cited as a result of this, so we still haven’t come up with a solution for where all of our folks are going to go, particularly, during the day,” Starke said. “I think we’ve been so hyper focused for such a long time on housing first and where are people sleeping and that is a really small part of a very big multifaceted issue. We need to be talking about how will we advance the lives of our most marginalized members of the community.”