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Date: Sun, Sep 27, 2020 at 5:01 PM
Subject: RE: [pdxshelterforum] NGA River District Navigation Center
To: Portland Shelter Forum <pdxshelterforum@...
Cc: Lisa Marandas <lmarandas@...
Jeff: Thanks for your questions. My responses are below:
- I do not know what the practice of local municipalities in Idaho are in light of the Miller v. Boise decision by the 9th Circuit. I do believe that the Boise decision and the Grant’s Pass decision(s) lay the groundwork for further litigation in other circuits seeking to declare that homeless and displaced persons have the right to safe and sanitary housing which may not be abridged by the jurisdiction in which they are located. Several national homeless advocate organizations are pressing this claim forward.
- In Oregon, home rule cities, of which Portland is one, may enact reasonable limitations on the use of public property; however, it appears to be resolved by the City Attorney that tents are allowed to use public sidewalks so long as those sidewalks are not blocked to normal pedestrian traffic. This is not a state law, but a local policy which has not been successfully challenged.
- Public officials, largely the officers of the Portland Police Bureau, may and do remove obstacles blocking rights of way on public property as well as materials which may present a public health or safety problem. Homeless camps and tents, including the individuals who occupy them, are routinely cleared as part of the necessary “welfare check” sanction.
- Oregon Harbor of Hope programs include a mobile assistance program which serves more than 700 homeless people on the streets in six locations each week, providing shelters, laundry and food. We work in cooperation with the Portland Police Bureau, the Portland Police Association and neighborhood associtions, without which such services would not be available. Our work is supported entirely by private donations and volunteers. Our observation is that the number of houseless persons, including families, has increased greatly during the pandemic and economic recession, perhaps by as much as fifty percent. While public shelter space has also increased greatly due to the efforts of the Joint Office on Homelessness and non-profit organizations, the shelter available is nowhere close to needs the needs of the unhoused population.
Portland Shelter Forum <pdxshelterforum@...
Sunday, September 27, 2020 12:32 PMTo: don@...Subject:
Fwd: [pdxshelterforum] NGA River District Navigation Center
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Thank you Don for that nice clear statement regarding the current law of the land. It would be nice if people as well as local officials would also reflect
on the spirit of that law. And since you seem up to speed on such matters perhaps you could answer a couple related questions.
Correct if I’m wrong but isn’t it true that Boise for example still leaves municipalities more or less free to clear sidewalks are obstructed, or to in effect sweep people from public land by citing them for illegal camping, or erecting of a temporary structure,
conduct an arrest and take personal property (including tarps, tents, sleeping bags and the like)? Is this what is meant by an abatement ?
What does an abatement mean? Does it allow police to siege things they consider trash or an eyesore making no pretense to be. acting with any other statutory authority? Again thank you for reminding everyone about Boise and Blake.
In any contract the premise is based on a meeting of the minds ithat both sides would benefit to some degree.
It’s been a few years since I created this GNA for the now defunct camp. A few people set up tents on PBOT land without authorization from the city (Occupy the land now and ask forgiveness later). A former local Pastor (who did not reside there) set it up and created the Code of Conduct. As I stated in the aforementioned it turned out to not be Worth the paper it was written on despite his honorable efforts. I talked with him about the Good Neighbor Agreement. Each side would agree to the terms of the agreement and negative actions would not be taken by either side unless the terms of the GNA were violated.
Even if it could not be adjudicated in the traditional sense a Civil Court would be obliged to hear the merits of an agreement that has been “Grandathered” in.
Since this particular sanction camp violated the terms of the GNA immediately it became moot and would not even been considered. Until a significant time has passed do you have something Grandathered in nothing may be actionable but the surrounding community would feel a bit more secure and would be more receptive. The NAV center has saved countless lives but they faceed (and continue to face) some pushback. Some misguided community members feel it’s much safer to have people living in desperation on the streets instead of being in places of safety. You can’t confuse some people with logic.
On Sat, Sep 26, 2020 at 1:27 PM <don@...> wrote:
Ms. Witt, et. al., Good Neighbor Agreements do not have the force of law; however, Oregon Harbor of Hope has and will continue to follow the provisions of the GNA developed more than a year ago to govern the operation of the navigation center.
Oregon Harbor of Hope does not have police power nor does the GNA signed in good faith pre-empt federal, state or local laws. Two court decisions – Martin v. Boise and Blake v. Grants Pass declare, as a matter of constitutional law, that neither criminal nor civil penalties may be enforced against homeless persons occupying public property. Sidewalks, rights-of-way and other such property are encompassed by these recent decisions and apply to Portland, including private parties who may be offended by the occupation of public property by persons otherwise without shelter.
In addition to these constitutional protections on public property, neither Oregon Harbor of Hope nor Transition Projects, Inc. can enforce rights nor objections held by private persons on private property. If uninvited persons are trespassing on private property, private owners, at their discretion, must seek self help or contact the Single Point of Contact, the Portland Police Bureau or legally-authorized security agents for relief.
Our intention, always, is to follow applicable law and to continue to advocate for the rights and provide for the needs of the less fortunate among us. We invite you to join us in that mission.