The city is looking to provide a local definition for “established camping sites”.
City officials believe it would help law enforcement clear illegal campsites faster.
State law requires law enforcement to give illegal campsites a 72-hour notice before they can be cleared.
Adopting a new local definition would give law enforcement the power to clear campsites immediately, as long as the campsite hasn’t been there for longer than five days.
City Attorney Eric Mitton said, “It would allow law enforcement to take immediate action if they haven’t been in that place for very long, they don’t have an expectation of permanency. It would allow law enforcement to say ‘No, this is a violation of time, place and manner regulations. You need to pack it up now and if you don’t, enforcement is a possibility.'”
Mitton said tents would still be permitted at places like the urban campground and during severe weather events.
He said there is very little precedent for how these rules have worked in other cities.
Ashland recently adopted a 24-hour rule for unhoused campers just two weeks ago.
The Medford City Council will vote on the new definition at Thursday’s meeting.
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