Daytime camping ban in Portland starts Friday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KGW) — The city of Portland’s ban on daytime camping begins today.

Under the new ordinance, camping on city property is prohibited between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. People living in vehicles or RVs will also need to be lawfully parked and follow the city’s general parking rules between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Camping s also banned at all times in specific areas, including in parks and on sidewalks, within 250 feet of schools and childcare centers, and along city-designated high crash corridors.

Mayor Ted Wheeler brought fourth the ordinance and city council passed it in a 3-1 vote last month. The ban is intended to get more people into temporary or affordable housing. Wheeler has said that his goal is to have enough shelter and housing space available to eliminate unsanctioned camping.

People living on the streets can be prohibited from camping anywhere if they decline offers for shelter or housing. They can be warned to move their tents and belongings twice, but on the third violation, they could be fined up to $100 or face up to 30 days in jail, or both. However, City Commissioner Rene Gonzalez said in June that almost no one will be going to jail.

Questions have been raised as to how the city will enforce the ban, as the Portland Police Bureau continues to deal with a staffing shortage. Wheeler’s office said there will be a “phased-in” approach that focuses on outreach and connecting people to services before enforcing the ban. Wheeler’s office also said they will make a formal announcement when enforcement will begin.

The ordinance updates the city’s existing restrictions on public camping, and puts Portland in compliance with House Bill 3115. That law, passed in 2021, mandated that Oregon cities update their camping ordinances by July of this year, adopting “reasonable” time, place and manner restrictions instead of maintaining blanket bans.

A federally mandated “point-in-time” count conducted in late January found that there are more than 6,200 people experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County.

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