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Roseburg City Council updates City camping regulations

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Updated City of Roseburg camping regulations will take effect Saturday July 1, 2023 after the Roseburg City Council approved municipal code changes on Monday May 22, 2023.

The Council approved revisions to what are known as time, place and manner regulations involving camping on City property.

Under Oregon House Bill 3115, cities must meet a Saturday July 1, 2023 deadline to update time, place and manner regulations for camping in public spaces to ensure prohibited camping regulations are “objectively reasonable.”

Camping will be prohibited:

  • On any City property during daylight hours
  • In or adjacent to residential areas
  • Within 200 feet of schools, daycare facilities, playgrounds, sports complexes or adjacent structures such as parking lots
  • Within 10 feet of multiuse paths or 100 feet of a waterway’s high-water mark
  • Between the Umpqua River Path and South Umpqua River east of I-5 to Flint Street
  • In certain areas such as the Stewart Park Natural Area (aka the “Duck Pond”)
  • Adjacent to any City-owned buildings or City-owned buildings leased to others (including the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Umpqua Valley Arts Center, Betty Long Unruh Theater, Stewart Park Golf Course and Umpqua United)
  • Airport property
  • Near water reservoirs
  • Within 200 feet of a park area being used with a park permit
  • Downtown Parking Garage and adjacent areas
  • Any public property not owned, leased or managed by the City

The Fire Chief and Fire Marshal may prohibit any locations with elevated fire threats at a certain time of year.

Camping will not be prohibited from:

  • 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. from April 1- Sept. 30.
  • 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. in March and October
  • 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. from Nov. 1- Feb. 28.

Enforcement of time restrictions may be suspended by the City Manager, Police Chief or a designee for severe weather events, when someone is engaged in case management or behavioral health services, or when necessary to respond to someone’s disability or unique circumstances.

'We are trying to balance people’s human need to sleep and stay warm and dry with the public’s expectations to use public spaces as intended,' Roseburg City Manager Nikki Messenger said recently.

The City code will stipulate camps must be no larger than 10 feet by 10 feet and be completely self-contained within a tent or tent-like structure except for one mobility device, such as a bike or wheelchair, per camper.

Camps must not obstruct sidewalk accessibility or interfere with the use of right-of-way for pedestrian, vehicle, bicycle or other travel. Campers can’t build structures. Animals must be leashed or crated at all times. Noise ordinances must be followed.

Roseburg Police have not issued prohibited camping citations since at least early 2020. Roseburg Officers currently give tickets for other unlawful behavior connected to camping on public property such as offensive littering, depositing trash in waterways or within 100 yards of a waterway, vandalism, criminal mischief, drinking in public, having an unleashed dog and other violations.

The public can view three drafts of the proposed prohibited camping ordinance amendments on the City website. Public comment was invited at the ordinance’s first reading before the City Council Monday, May 8.

City Manager Nikki Messenger and City Attorney Jim Forrester had discussed draft ordinance language with the Roseburg Homeless Commission at its Monday March 27, and Monday April 24, meetings.

Messenger and Forrester also presented information to the City Council at its work study session Monday April 17. Councilors and commissioners gave input that has been incorporated in the new draft. The Council adopted the ordinance after a second reading Monday, May 22.

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Recent Ninth Circuit court decisions and Oregon laws passed in 2021 (HB 3115 and HB 3124) to comply with the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment allow cities with homeless shelters to enact “objectively reasonable” citywide restrictions on the time, place and manner of sitting, sleeping or keeping warm and dry outside on public property so cities can effectively manage public spaces for the entire community’s benefit.

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