A judge in Multnomah County dismissed a lawsuit on July 13 that sought to end tent camping and sidewalk sleeping. According to Oregon Live, the lawsuit was filed by business and neighborhood groups alike.
Court documents state that the lawsuits ask the court to end the epidemic of widespread camping that has existed in Portland since February. The rise in tent camping is a result of a six-month experiment in which Mayor Charlie Hales authorized a “safe sleep policy” to address homelessness.
Since Judge Marilyn Litzenberger dismissed the lawsuit without prejudice, the plaintiffs in the case will be able to refile their lawsuit in a few weeks. She explained that there needs to be further explanation of how the policy affects them directly.
Knowing that 40.1 million Americans camped in 2013 alone, it is surprising that residents in Portland were so opposed to the idea.
Businesses that have filed the lawsuit include the Portland Business Alliance, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Oregon. Central Eastside Industrial Council, the Overlook Neighborhood Association, and Cartlandia are also against the new policy.
Attorney Paul Conable, the plaintiff’s council, explained that he omitted the details the judge requested because he wanted to focus on Haley’s policy. He then explained that his clients are more than willing to provide examples of how the policy is hurting, not helping.
“Telling people to sleep on the streets is not humane,” the complaint says. “In fact, it is the opposite of humane; as recent events have shown, the Mayor’s Camping Policy has resulted in violence, unhealthy conditions, and pain and suffering for our most vulnerable residents.”
Conable says the new policy does not take into account the current laws against tents and that Haleys did not consult the City Council before putting the policy into effect.
The plaintiffs are expected back in court in the coming weeks with the requested information.