Federal Court of Appeals sides with houseless against Grants Pass

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The City of Grants Pass lost an appeal over its decision to cite homeless people for camping in city parks.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in favor of the unhoused.

It says Grants Pass violated the rights of the homeless by citing them for sleeping in public areas when there are no other shelters provided.

This ruling is built off a similar 2018 case in Boise, Idaho.

The opinion says people cannot be punished for “the mere act of sleeping outside with rudimentary protection from the elements when there is no other place in the city for them to go.”

The city says it gets a lot of complaints from people concerned about safety and cleanliness in its parks.

“It’s been something we’ve been trying to tackle but this injunction says we have to allow people to camp there because they don’t have anywhere else to go and grants pass had not had any low barrier shelter options. So we’re working on creating a low barrier shelter to give people an option,” Grants Pass Mayor, Sara Bristol said.

Mayor Bristol said opening a navigation center is critical to clean up its parks.

It’s currently looking for a location.

Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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