By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Court rules ban on public camping violates Constitution

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Don Dix

If banning the homeless from sleeping on public property has been ruled unconstitutional (8th Amendment), how does that not effect Mac's ordinance banning homeless people from sleeping on public property????


So, a ban on camping on public property amounts to "cruel and unusual punishment"? The continuing discovery of constitutional rights, through the tortured reinterpretation of original intent and common logic, will ultimately lead to a constitution worth about as much as toilet paper: necessary and momentarily useful, but easily disposable.


This was a three-judge panel, not the full court. It is subject to appeal to the full court, then to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Also, it was based on lack of shelter beds as an alternative, and the Union Gospel Mission almost always has beds available in McMinnville.
Two homeless guys I talked to said they avoid the mission due to its religious trappings.
Be that as it may, the beds are still available as an alternative to sleeping outdoors. And giving homeless people no other option is the basis for the ruling.

Don Dix

From the article -- 'The court ruled the ban is unconstitutional even if there is room in the shelters because people are sometimes turned away because of time limits or religious requirements.'

It's clear to me (by reading this) that no matter whether there are shelters available or not, it is unconstitutional to ban public camping. The 'religious trappings' you mentioned @ the Gospel Mission seem to be inclusive to the ruling.

If this ruling stands, Mac's ordinance would appear to be in violation.


That may well be the way things are headed. However, it's hard to view this as settled law at this juncture. I don't think we've heard the last on this case or issue.
Whether the city has the will to evict homeless campers may end up being controlling, regardless of the ultimate judicial outcome. If no enforcement, then no issue.

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