Friday, November 15, 2019

Staff Restrict Sit-Lie Options

By Sarah Owens and Michael Livingston

Councilor Andersen says he remains undecided on the bill  
Staff have presented City Council with four options for revising proposed Ordinance Bill 10-19 (aka Sit-Lie, Jr. or Sidewalk Behavior Ordinance) on Monday night.  Council could order one or none of all of them, or they could offer their own.

Notably missing from staff offerings is the option to remove altogether the prohibitions on sitting and lying, which option Councilor Kaser has said she favors.  See Brynelson, T. "Salem councilors consider easing the restrictions proposed to govern sitting, lying on public property" (November 6, 2019, Salem Reporter.); and Brynelson, T. "Salem City Council to discuss 'sit-lie' ordinance in work session Monday."  (November 13, 2019, Salem Reporter.)

The staff options offered for Council's consideration are:

1) Revise camping restrictions to address repeat violations.  Under current City Code, sidewalk camping is not prohibited unless the site becomes a public nuisance, or campers intentionally interfere with a pedestrian. Under Ordinance Bill 10-19, if there's no one present in a sidewalk camp, or if the camper refuses to remove the camp when cited, police have to post the camp for 24 hours prior to removal (see Salem Police Department directive 9.12). The concern is that a cited camper might simply decamp down the block, and thereby evade the 24-hour notice.  Staff propose to revise the ordinance bill to allow police to issue separate citations for each infraction ($250 each).  (Seems like this is merely a clarification.)

2) "Uncouple" violations of the proposed ordinance from the two civil exclusion zones (Downtown Crime Prevention District and North Salem Crime Prevention District) by removing the proposed renumbering and amendments to Salem Revised Code 95.735 and 95.736.  (Councilor Hoy's preferred option.)

3) Change hours of enforcement from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. to "align the ordinance with the hours of existing day centers."  (A dubious claim.)

4) Sunset June 1, 2020 unless Council votes to continue the ordinance for an additional period based on review of crime stats (number of citations issued, individuals cited, individuals issued civil exclusion orders, individuals cited for violation of the exclusion order.) (Should be uncontroversial.)

See the full staff report here.

CANDO issued a resolution opposing Ordinance Bill 10-19 in September.  See here.  Wednesday,  November 13, SCAN authorized a letter to the Mayor and Council, opposing Ordinance Bill 10-10.  SCAN is in Councilor Andersen's ward.

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