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Roseburg City Council to Discuss Proposed Public Camping Regulation Changes

11:37 PM · May 1, 2023

The public will have a chance to weigh in on proposed changes to public camping regulations when the Roseburg City Council meets Monday, May 8. Under Oregon House Bill 3115, Roseburg and other cities must meet a Saturday, July 1, deadline to update time, place and manner regulations for camping in public spaces to ensure prohibited camping regulations are “objectively reasonable.” A draft copy of Roseburg’s proposed ordinance changes is now available for public view on the City’s website(link below). Those interested can take a look at the proposed revisions and provide comment in person or via Zoom during the meeting, or by email or handwritten letter by 12 p.m. Monday, May 8. Roseburg City Manager Nikki Messenger and City Attorney Jim Forrester discussed the draft ordinance language with the Roseburg Homeless Commission at its Monday, March 27, and Monday, April 24, meetings. Messenger and Forrester also presented information to the City Council at its work study session Monday, April 17. Councilors and commissioners gave input that has been incorporated in the new draft. “We are trying to balance people’s human need to sleep and stay warm and dry with the public’s expectations to use public spaces as intended,” Messenger said recently. Recent Ninth Circuit court decisions and Oregon laws passed in 2021 (HB 3115 and HB 3124) to comply with the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment allow cities with homeless shelters to enact “objectively reasonable” citywide restrictions on the time, place and manner of sitting, sleeping or keeping warm and dry outside on public property so cities can effectively manage public spaces for the entire community’s benefit. Roseburg is considering prohibiting camping during daylight hours, within 10 feet of multiuse paths or 100 feet of a waterway’s high-water mark, within 1,000 feet of schools or daycare facilities, and in certain areas such as the Stewart Park Natural Area (aka the “Duck Pond”), Roseburg Regional Airport or sports complexes. Under proposed restrictions, camps must be no larger than 10 feet by 10 feet and be completely self-contained within a tent or tent-like structure except for one mobility device, such as a bike or wheelchair, per camper. Roseburg Police have not issued prohibited camping citations since at least early 2020. Roseburg Officers currently give tickets for other unlawful behavior connected to camping on public property such as offensive littering, depositing trash in waterways or within 100 yards of a waterway, vandalism (aka criminal mischief), drinking in public, having an unleashed dog and other violations. The City Council is expected to discuss the proposed regulation updates Monday, May 8, when a first reading of the ordinance may be held. If so, a second ordinance reading would be held Monday, May 22, and the ordinance could take effect immediately or by July 1. The City Council’s May 8 meeting agenda and instructions for making public comments can be found on the Council’s webpage. Via City of Roseburg