A pair of Democrats reintroduced a zombie bill in Oregon that failed to pass once again but keeps being resurrected to make “sweeps” of homeless camps illegal and give people who live in them the right to sue someone for $1,000 if they are asked to move or are harassed.
(Video Credit: KGW News)
Local media outlets are reporting that the highly-controversial bill is widely opposed by Oregonians and businesses but it just keeps coming back thanks to the left. The bill is ostensibly seeking the “decriminalization of rest” and would allow leftist city leaders to “redirect” funds from law enforcement into measures that “address the root causes of homelessness and poverty,” according to the Daily Mail. It appears to be yet another flavor of the “Defund the Police” movement.
Although the bill missed the deadline to advance in this legislative session, it will reportedly be reintroduced by Democrats during the next one. The resurrection of the progressive legislation comes as the number of homeless camps explodes across cities such as Portland in the state. That city now has the dubious distinction of having one of the worst crime rates in the nation which has resulted in residents and businesses fleeing the city. One drug counselor called Portland an “open-air psych ward.”
Citizens have overwhelmingly opposed the bill. They assert that Oregon’s metropolitan areas have been devastated by progressive policies that have cut police budgets while crime and drug use have skyrocketed. Over 2,000 letters opposing the bill have been submitted. Only 41 have supported it and one of those was mocking the bill.
The bill, HB 3501, was sponsored by Democrat Representative Farrah Chaichi and Representative Khanh Pham. The bill will be addressed at a hearing of the state’s House Committee On Housing and Homelessness that takes place on May 4.
HB 3501 | A controversial homeless bill proposed in Oregon would make it illegal to remove homeless camps on public property and allow homeless people to sue for $1,000 if they’re “harassed” or told to leave.
The bill is dead since it missed the deadline to advance. @KGWNews pic.twitter.com/QXWgoGe22X
— Blair Best (@blairgbest) May 2, 2023
(Video Credit: Fox News)
“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,” the bill claims, ironically overlooking that it is leftist policies that have caused all of those issues.
“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,” it contends.
The bill also seeks to “use and move freely in public spaces without discrimination and time limitations.” That means the homeless would be allowed to reside in parks and on other public land indefinitely without question.
“A person experiencing homelessness has a privacy interest and a reasonable expectation of privacy in any property belonging to the person, regardless of whether the property is located in a public space,” the bill socialistically states.
Though the proposed bill has been getting national attention and while it’s not going to pass this session there is still a public hearing on it this week.
Hundreds of people have already submitted written testimony. The overwhelming majority oppose it. pic.twitter.com/txy4t2YsIT
— Blair Best (@blairgbest) May 2, 2023
The bill would go on to allow those “experiencing homelessness” the right to “rest in public spaces and seek protection from adverse weather conditions.” It also grants them the right to “pray, meditate, worship or practice religion in public spaces without discrimination based on housing status.”
It goes on to guarantee the right to live in a vehicle or an RV on public land “provided that the vehicle is legally parked.”
Under the purview of the bill, anyone who violates homeless “rights” would owe “compensatory damages or $1,000 per violation, whichever is greater.” Penalties of $1,000 would be awarded to any homeless person who was “harassed,” which is open to interpretation it appears.
So much for the American dream. This is Portland, Oregon.pic.twitter.com/CM9agkVZ61
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) April 26, 2023
I bet you think this is at the border. It’s not. This is Portland, Oregon. pic.twitter.com/1n6BCSWQi9
— SandyBeachesForever (@SandyBeachesMAG) April 29, 2023
“I feel that this will set a precedence for mass homeless camps. We’ve seen what it does to local businesses and neighborhoods throughout Oregon. When do the taxpaying citizens become relevant? I do NOT want to see this happen at all. I am already tempted to move out of state due to the extreme politics in this state,” Lyons, Oregon resident Peter Cakebread said in his letter, according to the Daily Mail.
“The homelessness in our city, and state is already out of hand. Crime and drugs are everywhere and this measure would just make it worse,” Jennifer Buchanan, a resident of Beaverton noted.
“We cannot give these people legal protection to do as they please in our public spaces, and strip our citizens of their own rights to use these same spaces,” wrote Portland resident Carlin Scott. “Portland is struggling right now to retain residents, and the increasing encroachment of homeless camps on our public lands is a big reason why we’re losing residents.”
(Video Credit: NewsNation)
Oregon has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the United States and it’s getting worse. The number of homeless in the state rose by 23% between 2020 and 2022, according to The Oregonian.
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