Portland Settled an ADA Lawsuit by Removing Homeless Encampments From Sidewalks

According to the plaintiffs’ lawyers and Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office, a settlement has been struck alleging that Portland violates the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to ban homeless camping along its sidewalks.

The federal court and the Portland City Council must approve the settlement before it can go into effect. The city said the council will discuss the matter next week.

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In September, ten locals filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that the city violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the federal Rehabilitation Act because of the presence of tents and other debris that made walkways unsafe for those with mobility impairments.

The plaintiffs requested an injunction compelling the city to clear sidewalk encampments and debris and provide adequate accommodation for those who would otherwise be relocated. To settle the dispute outside of court, the parties revealed in November that they would participate in mediation.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys released a copy of the settlement agreement, which states that the city will devote at least 40% of its resources to clearing sidewalk camps over the following five years. Additionally, the city will allocate $8 million for removals in the 2023-24 fiscal year and $3 million annually for the next four years unless there are too few to achieve that target.

The settlement agreement also includes the following provisions:

  • A faster mechanism for those with mobility challenges to obtain ADA accommodations will be established, and 311 and an online portal will be available for reporting sidewalk camps around the clock.
  • Within five working days after a report, the city must dispatch an employee or contractor to evaluate the site, and all information from reports must be centralized in a database that tracks recorded sidewalk camps.
  • To continue a policy instituted earlier this year by Commissioner Rene Gonzalez, the city will not offer tents or tarps to homeless people except in certain instances.
  • When the city receives at least three requests to remove campsites and one request for an ADA accommodation during a given month, it will place “no camping” signs in certain areas.
  • The city has agreed to pay the plaintiffs $5,000 in compensatory damages and legal fees, and it has also decided to report on its compliance with the agreement in writing every three months.

Portland Settled an ADA Lawsuit by Removing Homeless Encampments

Last week, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was working on a plan to prohibit camping on city property between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and at all times within 1,000 feet of any school, daycare center, or emergency shelter. In an email, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said this policy is not part of the settlement but will “work hand in glove” with the territory.

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Wheeler’s proposal is considered the first step toward a total ban on unsanctioned camping, which he outlined as a goal last year. In addition to the complete ban, six large-scale official camping areas would be made available. Although Wheeler has revealed the initial site’s location and management strategies, none of these establishments have yet opened to the public.

On Wednesday, May 24, the council approved allocating an additional $2.6 million to Central City Concern’s $878,000 budget for camp clearances.

Louis Ebert

Louis Ebert is a talented content writer with a passion for creating compelling stories and informative articles. With years of experience in writing, Louis has honed their skills in crafting engaging content that resonates with readers.As a content writer for Focushillsboro.com, Louis explores the many facets of life in Hillsboro and the surrounding areas. From delving into the latest trends in local business to highlighting community events and leaders, their writing offers a unique perspective that captures the essence of the area.

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