Salem could reverse course on homeless camp ban

Marion County

The city is unsure now where to put roughly 300 homeless people living on sidewalks

People who are homeless in Salem are now camping out at the vacant downtown Nordstrom. January 6, 2020 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Salem is reconsidering a homeless camping ban that launched at the end of last year.

Since the ban took effect in mid-December, city officials have been scrambling to find options where to put the roughly 300 homeless people who have setup tents on sidewalks downtown.

Salem’s Pringle Hall was suggested as a potential, temporary shelter but was voted down on January 21, according to the Statesman Journal. The Marion County Juvenile Detention Facility was also deemed as an “unacceptable” option for temporary housing.

The city has reportedly looked into easing its restrictions on campsites in industrial areas, but city manager Steve Powers believes doing so will not change behaviors that led to large campsites like in front of the ARCHES building downtown.

The city council considering limiting its camping ban to downtown, city parks and neighborhoods classified as “residential” at its meeting next month.

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