Ashland, Oregon Criminalizing Laws Target Homeless – One Ordinance States “Sleeping Prohibited”

When a city like Ashland, Oregon passes laws targeting the homeless it sends a clear message that they are not welcome. It sends another message that beneath the thin veneer; society considers them worthless. Instead of lending a helping hand, most people cross to the other side of the street to avoid them. As if they have something that is contagious. This lack of empathy I find to be heartbreaking. 

McCain’s home state of Arizona is one of the places were 32 homeless people died on the streets of Phoenix, in the summer of 2005. Four homeless men died of heat exposure, in one weekend, in the summer of 2006. Sad statistics that I’m sure did not even get a mention in the local paper.  When cities like Phoenix and Ashland could solve the problem easily by building homeless shelters.

The ACLU of Oregon is challenging Ashland’s anti-camping ordinance.

The Southern Oregon Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon calls upon the City of Ashland to amend its “Prohibited Camping” ordinance from one that punishes poverty and homelessness into one that prods the city to provide housing for the homeless.

The city’s inhumane anti-camping law is inconsistent with the values of the Ashland, and the ACLU calls for immediate reform.

“The poor should not be punished simply for being poor, and that’s what this law does in Ashland,” said the ACLU of Oregon Executive Director David Fidanque. “The city of Ashland and all cities should seek to address the underlying issues of homelessness and poverty, rather than enacting and enforcing laws that target those who are homeless.”

In a report released today, the Southern Oregon Chapter calls on the Ashland City Council to make the specific revisions to the Prohibited Camping Ordinance, Municipal Code Section 10.46, and to the related “Sleeping Prohibited” ordinance, Section 10.68.230:

Section 10.46.020 (“Camping Prohibited”) should be amended to provide that, except as set forth in Section 10.46.030, the prohibitions in this ordinance shall not apply between the hours of 9 p.m. and 8 a.m., unless and until at least 50 units of permanent supportive housing are created within the City of Ashland, at least 50 percent of which are centrally located. These units must be created for current or chronically homeless persons.

Section 10.46.050 (“Penalties”) should be amended to lower the offense in Subsection A to a “violation,” to correct the erroneous reference in Subsection B to Section 1.08.010, and to correct the next to last word in Subsection B from “rebuttal” to “rebuttable.

Section 10.68.230 (“Sleeping Prohibited”) should be repealed.

The “Sleeping Prohibited” is way over the top. Ashland is by far not the worse for their poor treatment of the homeless; actually that goes to Florida

Florida historically is “one of the worst states for criminalizing homelessness.” Stoops points out an Orlando ordinance that limits feeding homeless people in public places. In April 2007, undercover cops were sent to Orlando’s Lake Eola Park, to arrest Eric Montanez for feeding 30 homeless people – five more than the city’s 25-person limit.

“You can feed pigeons, dogs and squirrels, but God forbid you try to feed the homeless,” Stoops says.

In many cases, ours laws protect animals better than they do people. It makes me yearn for the stories my grandmother use to tell me about – during the depression – when her family of 11, use to feed the homeless that would come to their back door for a meal. They didn’t have any money but they never turned away a single person that came to the door hungry. It was the worst of times that brought out the best in people.

6 thoughts on “Ashland, Oregon Criminalizing Laws Target Homeless – One Ordinance States “Sleeping Prohibited”

  1. Freedom, I get my heart rebroken daily in this tiny part of the world..True case in point, a single guy, fairly new to our little resort almost fell through the crack’s..Enter one big mouthed witch, one fisherman friend and 3 other resident’s..

    First the poor guy’s truck lost it’s tranny at his job an hour and a half from home (here)…For a month he worked and stayed at his job site living in his truck with his dog, only coming home once a week to do laundry and restock up on food..He had to get people to pick him up and drop him off….After a month of trying to get money enough to fix his truck he and 3 other’s were layed off from the job..Someone brought him back home, with out the truck….For 2 more week’s he was hiking to the nearest bus route (couple of mile’s) looking for a job…Last week I saw him out side and found out his situation….The weather had turned cold and told him I was going to the store and would he like to come along for the ride.I didn’t know he was unemployed till then..Also didn’t know he didn’t have a heater to stay warm..He live’s in an 8 ft cab over camper here…I took him around to sign up for service’s, then to the food bank to get food, 3 meal’s a day of top ramen had to be dreadful.If only I had known sooner…Maria, Keith and Erik all took him food and my buddy Xavier brought him a heater in short order…We went back and returned some of his application’s and paper work and we go back for some interview’s on Tuesday..He will not go hungry, be on the street and homeless or cold if all of us can help it…Now we are working on getting a trailer and truck to pull it to go and get his truck…My old truck would do it because it’s a 3/4 but sadly the engine has turned over 3 plus time’s and would not make the pull..We will get it done somehow..

    I see this all over all the time, sadly it’s over whelming and not much people can do except on a one on one close by..Our guy was in shock and like us all is very proud and kept saying “I don’t know how I can pay you all back”..I told him all of us have been in hard time’s at one time or other and people helped us, he wasen’t our charity case, it was our pay back….Never mind paying us back, someday help someone else in their need if you can….

    I have been in his position but not without wheel’s and I to was helped when my daughter was very smal..My neighbor baby sat her in her home while I worked a grave yard shift at a hamberger joint, her only pay was a chocolate shake and she would take no more for over a month..Don’t know were I would be if not for her…

    Sorry for the length here…Just thought I should point out it’s every where, people are getting lost and winter’s on the way….Help someone if you can everyone…The survival of our country is at steak…A neighbor may need your help…Even something as small as a heater and a meal may make the diffrence…..Blessings..P.S. This guy served in the Navy, a machinest and hilacopter mechanic, some other thing’s I did not know, isn’t that something, next he’s going to check thing’s out there…His depression has lifted and so has our’s..

  2. witch1 – so true. We will only make it through this crisis with the help and support of each other. This is not a time for divisiveness.

    Your story reminds me of a TV commercial where someone helps someone else and another person sees this and then that person helps someone etc… . It becomes a positive chain event. Thank you for posting your story.

  3. Good Morning Lady Cat’s and thank you for reading it….I tell people all the time even if you can’t help someone with food or a ride to help their journey just taking a few minute’s to listen and respond can turn one person’s life around….Many time’s in my life having someone listen and show compassion was all that was needed….Blessings

  4. Who raised these fools wait till it happens to you. I used to be a homeless avicate, since people got greedy with rent so high we have not been able to keep up with you. How insulting that you would make fun or humiliate the homeless don’t you read the Bible or worship another horn we wonder? When you find out that you were born with a heart it makes you wonder like God 🙏.

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