Car camps for the homeless under consideration in Medford

MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford city council is looking for new ways to help the homeless in southern Oregon.

The council is looking at adopting a state code which would allow people who live in their vehicles to stay overnight at religious institutions.

Under the Oregon state code, ORS 203.082, up to three vehicles are allowed to camp at religious institutions.  Other regulations include that each institution must have sanitary facilities including a toilet, hand washing station, and trash disposal facilities.

Cities and counties can then adopt the code as is or add conditions and limitations to the statute.

As of now, city ordinances in Medford, make it difficult for people who live in their cars to find a place to stay overnight without breaking a law.

“People that are living in cars and don’t have permanent housing structure, they’re at say, the Walmart or they’re in public parks and those are violations,” Kevin Stine, Medford city councilor said. “This is a way to try to help out people that are in that situation.”

Other cities like Ashland, Eugene, Lincoln City, and Portland have adopted similar ordinances that allow people to camp in their cars at religious institutions.

The city is going to meet in February for a public hearing to discuss whether or not it wants to adopt the ordinance.

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