Portland Implements Daytime Camping Ban To Address Homelessness

Portland, Ore. — Starting today, the city of Portland has instituted a ban on daytime camping.

The new ordinance prohibits camping on city property between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Individuals residing in vehicles or RVs must also park lawfully and adhere to the city’s general parking regulations during the same timeframe.

Camping is permanently banned in specific areas, including parks, sidewalks, within 250 feet of schools and childcare centers, and along city-designated high crash corridors.

Mayor Ted Wheeler proposed the ordinance, which was approved by the city council in a 3-1 vote last month. The ban aims to increase the number of people accessing temporary or affordable housing. Mayor Wheeler has expressed his goal of providing sufficient shelter and housing options to eliminate unsanctioned camping.

Individuals living on the streets may be prohibited from camping if they decline offers of shelter or housing. They can receive two warnings to relocate their tents and belongings, but upon the third violation, they may face a fine of up to $100 or a maximum of 30 days in jail, or both. However, City Commissioner Rene Gonzalez stated in June that very few individuals would be incarcerated.

Concerns have been raised regarding the enforcement of the ban, given the staffing shortage within the Portland Police Bureau. The mayor’s office has indicated that an educational phase will precede a “phased-in” approach to enforcing the ban, which may begin in late July at the earliest.

The ordinance updates the city’s existing regulations on public camping and ensures compliance with House Bill 3115. Passed in 2021, the law mandates that Oregon cities revise their camping ordinances by July of this year, replacing blanket bans with “reasonable” time, place, and manner restrictions.

According to a federally mandated “point-in-time” count conducted in late January, there are over 6,200 homeless people in Multnomah County.