Monday, March 9, 2020

Sit-Lie Passes, But It Will Cost

By Sarah Owens and Michael Livingston

July 15, 2019 KPTV reports sit-lie is back for Round 2 
Unable since 2017 to get enough votes to pass to sit-lie (Ordinance Bill 6-20), Mayor Bennett tonight succeeded on a 7-1 vote.  Councilor Leung voted against.  Councilor Ausec was absent.

Council punted its legislative duties to the City Manager in a manner some would consider unconstitutional through Section 2 (r) of the bill, which provides, "The City Manager is directed to ensure that the restrictions in this ordinance are not enforced until the opening of additional daytime space that is protected from the elements and includes access to toilets. This space must be open during all periods the restrictions in this ordinance are in effect (7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday)."

So, based on the staff report, City Council has tacitly agreed to pay tens of thousands per month to enact sit lie.  See "Sit Lie Could Cost $30-$75K a Month."  

A recap of sit-lie's history:

September 25, 2017, the City Council formed a task force instead.  See "City Council to Consider Sit-Lie Bill" and "City Council Kills Sit-Lie After Public Hearing."

July 10, 2019, news broke that the City Council was bringing sit-lie back for Round 2.  Public outcry forced City to conduct a series of public forums instead.

November 18, 2019, City Council conducted a work session on the bill.

November 25, 2019, City Council added an emergency clause to the bill, took out the sit-lie and exclusion provisions, and conducted a first reading.

December 2, 2019, City Council delayed the effective date two weeks, conducted a second reading of what was now just a camping ban, and directed staff to compile a list of City property suitable for organized camping and comment on the feasibility of camping on each site.

December 10, 2019, City Council directed staff to work with the Mid-Willamette Community Action Agency to convert a couple of the warming shelters to a "duration model" (open every night) beginning 1/1/20 through 3/31/20. 

January 13, 2020, City Council directed staff to prepare an emergency declaration permitting 1) the Safe Sleep United program to expand capacity, 2) the City to use Pringle Hall for overnight shelter, and 3) a pilot car-camping program.

January 21, 2020, City Council adopted the emergency declaration without the Pringle Hall provision and directed staff to examine 1) lifting the camping ban in industrial areas and 2) the zoning issues  with certain potential low-barrier shelter sites.

January 21, 2020, City Council directed staff to examine lifting the camping ban everywhere except downtown, parks, and residential areas.

February 10, 2020, City Council directed staff to bring sit-lie back for Round 3.

February 24, 2020, City Council directed staff to 1) remove the exclusion provision and 2) return with a plan to provide toilets and shelter during the hours the sit-lie ban is in effect.

March 9, 2020, City Council conducted the first reading of Ordinance Bill 6-20.

See Woodworth, W. "Salem City Council: Sit-lie ordinance to move forward." (9 March 2020, Statesman Journal); Harrell, S. "City to erect 7,000-square foot covering in Marion Square Park after sit-lie ban goes into effect." (10 March 2020, Salem Reporter.).

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