There was a time when a public space was supposed to be able to be enjoyed by all. In Oregon, you’ll need to feel comfortable dodging mentally ill people and needles to enjoy your public spaces. And don’t complain, because that might cost you. Of course, if you are accosted, that’s on you.
Democrats in the Oregon House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would decriminalize homeless encampments in public places and allow homeless people to sue for $1,000 if harassed or told to leave.
The bill, HB 3501, would allow unhoused people to use public spaces “without discrimination and time limitations” regarding their housing status, the text reads.
“Many persons in Oregon have experienced homelessness as a result of economic hardship, a shortage of safe and affordable housing, the inability to obtain gainful employment and a disintegrating social safety net system,” says the bill, sponsored by Rep. Farrah Chaichi, a Democrat whose district includes Beaverton, and Rep. Khanh Pham, from southeast Portland. “Decriminalization of rest allows local governments to redirect resources from local law enforcement activities to activities that address the root causes of homelessness and poverty.”