Revised: January 2019
By Sarah Owens and Michael Livingston
[Originally published under the title, "Task Force to Consider Recommending Son of Sit-Lie."]
At its final meeting, the Task Force that was created as an alternative to enacting the first sit-lie ordinance was asked to recommend that the Council enact Son of Sit-Lie.
Recommendation: Assess Salem codes and ordinances to ensure that the City is appropriately balancing the rights of those who live, work, and shop in our downtown, and providing the City of Salem Police Department with the tools they need to address behaviors that negatively impact others.
Option a. Revise Salem’s ordinances to provide restrictions to camping or storing personal items on downtown sidewalks during business hours.
Despite Ordinance No. 22-17's very public execution almost a year ago, and significant public opposition to its revival since then, City staff included anti-camping/storage measures as an "option" that the Task Force and City Council should (re)consider in the draft recommendations that were presented to the Task Force at its final meeting. (The draft recommendations can be found here.)
Mayor Bennett was present for the meeting, and sat at the Task Force table, letting his preferences be known.
But, much to his displeasure, the Task Force didn't go for it. In the end, the business people who believe the police don't have "the tools they need to address behaviors that negatively impact others" either didn't show up, or wouldn't advocate publicly for the "enforcement" they've been privately demanding.
The Mayor was visibly and understandably annoyed after the Task Force effectively smothered the "Assess...codes" option by combining it with a proposed "Good Neighbor Partnership", which, after the meeting, he summed up as "why can't we all get along."
Staff moved the "enforcement" option forward in the final recommendation, despite the Task Force's forceful rejection.
|Final Draft Recommendation - 1 added, 2 moved up, 3 amended|
As a reminder, the City said the Task Force would:
1. address specific impacts of homelessness in downtown Salem including trash, health, hygiene, and perceptions of safety,
2. work toward identifying specific, measurable, and time-bound solutions that make the downtown inviting and welcoming to all Salem residents and visitors,
3. ensure that solutions equitably address the rights of downtown customers, visitors, businesses, property owners, and individuals experiencing homelessness.