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PSF-3.04 - Illegal Camping - Notification & Enforcement, Property & Referral Procedures

ILLEGAL CAMPING - NOTIFICATION AND ENFORCEMENT, PROPERTY AND REFERRAL PROCEDURES
Administrative Rules Adopted by Police Bureau Pursuant to Rule-Making Authority
ARB-PSF-3.04

 
POLICY (835.20)
The Bureau, in compliance with local and state law, will ensure the fair, courteous and equal treatment of all people when handling illegal campers.
 
PROCEDURE (835.20)
 
Directive Specific Definitions
 
Campsite: Refers to those locations where bedding, sleeping bag, or other sleeping matter, or any stove or fire is placed, established, or maintained, whether or not such place incorporates the use of any tent, lean-to, shack or any other structure, or any vehicle or part thereof.
 
Camp cleanup: Refers to any organized, prearranged operation by or on behalf of the Bureau to remove illegal campers, camps or camp structures from an established campsite.
 
Camp structures: Huts, lean-tos or tents used for shelter. Bridges, overpasses or highway embankments do not by themselves constitute camp structures.
 
Established campsite: Refers to locations where a camp structure exists on public property.
 
Personal property: Any item that is reasonably recognizable as belonging to a person and that has apparent utility. Items that have no apparent utility or are in an unsanitary condition may be immediately discarded upon removal of the homeless individuals from the campsite.
 
24-Hour Notice Posting (835.20)
Members will ensure an established campsite is posted at least 24 hours prior to cleanup. Members will notify JOIN (the local agency that delivers social ser-vices to homeless individuals) in advance of posting to allow collaboration with outreach workers to offer assistance. Additionally, members will not cite per-sons for violation of the camping law for an established campsite, within 200 feet of the 24-hour posted site, for a period of two hours prior and two hours after the posting. Persons who were not present when the established campsite was posted, will be given at least two hours notice to move. If possible a verbal notification will be made prior to conducting a cleanup of an established camp-site. After the 24 hour posting period has concluded, citations may be issued without prior verbal notification.
 
Bridges, overpasses, or highway embankments do not, by themselves, constitute camp structures. However, if there is no immediate threat to public safety nor any criminal acts occurring, the 24-hour posting should occur.
 
Any 24-hour notice posted for removal of an established campsite will be written in both English and Spanish.
 
As required by ORS 203.079(b), anytime a member posts a 24-hour notice, JOIN is notified where the notice has been posted. Additionally, the member will provide the following information:
a. Location of the posting.
b. Date and time of the posting.
c. Estimated number of campers.
d. Name and phone number of the reporting member.
The phone number of JOIN is listed in the Problem Solving Resource Guide.
 
Outreach (835.20)
The minimum posting period is 24-hours; however, members will notify JOIN in advance to allow the outreach workers time to prepare alternatives for persons using JOIN services.
 
JOIN outreach program staff will obtain information on available shelter space for displaced persons prior to the cleanup, and may visit established campsites to try and convince the campers to move to shelters or transitional housing. Additionally, outreach people may be present during cleanups. They may:
a. Assess campers’ needs and collect demographic data.
b. Identify shelter and housing options for campers, when available.
c. Inform campers regarding their legal rights.
d. Observe cleanup operations.
For direct contact of JOIN or other referral needs, see the Problem Solving Resource Guide.
 
Exceptions To 24-Hour Notice (835.20)
a. Private Property: There is no requirement for a 24-hour notice on private property. Camping on private property is subject to trespass. Rail-road property to which the general public does not have access will be considered private property.
b. Illegal Activities: When there is reasonable suspicion that illegal activities other than camping are occurring, no 24-hour notice is necessary.
c. State Property: If a cleanup is to occur on a State of Oregon right-of-way, State of Oregon notice and retention procedures must be followed (see OAR Chapter 734, Division 35, Highway Division).
d. Emergency: In the event of exceptional emergency, the 24-hour notice will be waived. Examples of an emergency could include public health hazards caused by waste, vectors, disease, hazardous materials, or other threats to human life or safety.
Evidence (835.20)
a. Arrest Situations: Items such as sleeping bags, bedding, or shopping carts, which are going to be used as evidence of the crime of illegal camping, shall be listed on an evidence receipt. If a camera is readily available so the evidence can be photographed at the scene, the evidence should be released to the owner. If a camera is unavailable, or the illegal camper is to be taken into custody, the evidence will be dealt with pursuant to Evidence and Property Procedure, DIR 660.10.
b. Incomplete Camping Investigations: Item(s) taken as evidence during an investigation of illegal camping where no person has yet been ar-rested, will be listed on an evidence receipt, placed in plastic bag(s) and stored at Stanton Yard, where it will be held for at least thirty (30) days. Property that is to be stored at Stanton Yard, including shopping carts, shall be tagged with a completed Stanton Yard Property Receipt indicating the date and location from which it was removed, and any other identifying information.
Non-Evidentiary Property (835.20)
a. Abandoned Non-Valuables: If campers are present, they should be encouraged to clean the site themselves in order to reduce the Bureau’s need to provide trucks and other necessary equipment. In any event, discarded clothing and blankets, cardboard bedding, trash, etc., can be bagged and deposited in a proper disposal area. Members are encouraged to locate dumpsites within their precincts where members of the community may offer their facilities in a partnership venture. The Maintenance Bureau may be contacted to handle bulk property found during major cleanups. Their personnel will follow Maintenance Bureau procedures during the cleanup process.
b. Personal Property: For the purposes of this directive, personal property means any item that is reasonable recognizable as belonging to a person and that has apparent use. These items of personal property will be stored for a minimum of thirty (30) days. Items that have no apparent use or are in an unsanitary condition may be immediately discarded upon removal of the homeless individuals from the camping site.

References
 
ORS 164.245 Criminal Trespass II
ORS 203.079 Required Elements of Local Government Policies on
Camping by Homeless
OAR Chapter 734, Division 35 Highway Division
City Code 14A.50.020 Camping Prohibited on Public Property and Public Rights of Way
DIR 660.10 Evidence and Property Procedure

 
HISTORY
Revised document effective January 20, 2006 and filed in PPD April 21, 2006.
Submitted for inclusion in PPD March 6, 2002.
Originally published as Directive 835.20 of the Portland Police Bureau Manual of Policy and Procedure, August 2001