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Homeless Advocates Rally Today to Call Attention to 'Unconstitutional' Anti-Camping Laws

Advocates for the unhoused in Eugene are rallying at Wayne Morse Plaza (8th and Oak) and care oming before the City Council tonight. They point to a recent statement of interest filed by the U.S. Department of Justice that says "making it a crime for people who are homeless to sleep in public places, when there is insufficient shelter space in a city, unconstitutionally punishes them for being homeless."

FOLLOWING DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FINDINGS, EUGENE CITIZENS DEMAND MORATORIUM ON UNCONSTITUTIONAL ENFORCEMENT OF ANTI-CAMPING LAWS

CONSTITUTIONAL RALLY, PROTEST AND PRESENTATION OF DEMANDS

SEPTEMBER 14, 2015

6PM RALLY AND PROTEST: FREE SPEECH PLAZA

7:30PM  DEMANDS PRESENTED TO COUNCIL:  COUNCIL CHAMBERS

The US Department of Justice on August 6, 2015 exerted new federal muscle against local governments that criminalize homelessness .   In a United States Letter of Interest in a Boise Idaho case, DOJ stated unequivocally that enforcement of anti-camping laws when there is inadequate shelter is unconstitutional.

Lane County’s One Night Homeless Count has repeatedly validated that Eugene has hundreds of unsheltered homeless citizens. The city's official website confirms this.  Consequently, Eugene's enforcement of its anti-camping law, 4.815,  is unconstitutional.

In the DOJ "Conclusion" in the Boise case, US Attorney Sharon Brett stated, " If the Court finds that it is impossible for homeless individuals to secure shelter space on some nights because no beds are available, no shelter meets their disability needs, or they have exceeded the maximum stay limitations, then the Court should also find that enforcement of the ordinances under those circumstances criminalizes the status of being homeless and violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution."

"Thus, criminalizing homelessness is both unconstitutional and misguided public policy, leading to worse outcomes for people who are homeless and for their communities," admonished the DOJ. 

Citizens, both housed and unhoused will attend the 7:30 PM Monday, September 14, 2015 meeting of the City Council to demand  a moratorium on 4.815, Eugene’s anti-camping ordinance and that all outstanding tickets be suspended or dismissed.  The group will also demand a moratorium and suspension of 4.807 Criminal Trespass 2, a "quality of life" charge, and of the Parks Exclusion (Restricted Use) which is given without judicial review in violation of the 4th Amendment "due process' clause.  

The final demand is to put a moratorium on interrupting anyone who is settled to sleep on public land who is not blocking pedestrian or vehicular traffic from dusk to dawn  It is intended that the moratoriums remain in place until Eugene develops laws, policies and practices that comply with the US Constitution,  Oregon Law and International Law.