MEDFORD, Ore. – It’s not law yet, but a Medford attorney is already filing a lawsuit against the city. He claims the law targets the homeless.
Justin Rosas, part of Lawyers for Justice, a collection of lawyers, announced plans to sue the city of Medford this week.
He told NBC5 News that he was filing a class action lawsuit in federal court. He said he is not only suing the city over the new bill, which he calls brutal. He also says it will displace and arrest those in need of housing and services. In addition, he is suing the current camping laws, which he believes are unconstitutional and do not meet basic human rights.
“It’s disenfranchised, it doesn’t fit what I believe as a Christian. It’s just a sad way of dealing with this problem, ”said Rosas.
He hopes the suit will not only start a conversation about the unknown, but also create change for those who live on Bear Creek Greenway. Rosas told NBC5 News that he hoped the City of Medford could use the Grants Pass as a model.
Below is the statement from Justin Rosas.
For too long our city has pushed aside its impoverished and uninhabited ones. We are losing the race against poverty, substance abuse and lack of access to real mental health care. We live in a city with a clearly unconstitutional ban on camping that doesn’t even meet the basic human rights of our beloved constitution. The solution proposed by the city is to stop enforcement and instead enforce other laws that have the same effect. Rather than pick it up and work on a humane solution, city councils stand ready to pass a new brutal law that will oust and arrest those in need of decent housing and services most urgently. This is a costly, inhuman, illegal, and regressive attempt to cover up a problem instead of working to actually fix it.
As the pandemic ravaged our communities, devastating not only our health but also our economies, we saw the fruits of our misdeeds emerge on the greenway and more and more of our neighbors had to live outside before our eyes. I run down the greenway thinking of the words of a local teacher and friend who said, “When I was running down the greenway this morning at 29 degrees, passing tons of tents, trying not to imagine how awful the night must be got more and more angry.
I’m tired of living in a country where countless people freeze at night because we don’t have adequate housing and services for the homeless. My family is housed, clothed, fed and can go to the doctor if they get sick. I just want the same for my neighbor. ”
Lawyers for Justice, a team of local attorneys dedicated to the voice of those too often unspoken in our society, hired a crew of volunteers led by the wonderful Jim Yarbrough who walked the greenway to deal with the unhoused have met and heard their experiences and then incorporate them into explanations. We walked next to them. It is clear that the city that was named in Boise v. Martin has failed to meet above standards and that the accounts of space at the Rogue Retreat doing a wonderful job are often exaggerated and exaggerated. A few minutes along the greenway and everyone can tell that we don’t have enough housing or low barrier services in our city.
We will be holding a press conference tomorrow, April 1st, at 12 noon in Alba Park to announce a lawsuit against the City of Medford on behalf of a number of our undocumented neighbors.
We encourage the city council to vote on this proposed regulation, send back previous regulations for repeal, and immediately set up a Boise Commission to address our city’s failure to adequately care or treat our unaccomodated people.
Below is Medford City’s answer.
The public prosecutor has read Mr Rosas’ statement and respectfully disagrees. The proposed change is not a city-wide ban on sleeping on public property, rather the proposed regulation sets out when, where and how people can rest / sleep on public property. In the cases of Martin v. Boise and Blake v. Grants Pass differentiated between city-wide bans on sleeping outdoors, which are only permitted if protective beds are available for all those who are not accommodated, and time regulations. The Blake case stated:
Just like with Martin [v. Boise]This rule in no way dictates that a local government should provide adequate protection for the homeless or allow anyone to sit, lie, or sleep on the street anytime, anywhere. The city can act time and time Put restrictions on when homeless people can use their belongings to keep themselves warm and dry and when they have to pack up their belongings. The city can also implement an anti-camping regulation that is more specific than the current one. For example, the city can ban the use of tents in public parks without preventing people from using bedding to keep them warm and dry while they sleep. The city may also consider limiting the amount of bedding allowed per person in public places. The Grants Pass would keep a large tool kit for regulating public space without violating the Eight Amendment.
Similarly, House Bill 3115, a joint effort by the Oregon Law Center (the legal group that filed the Blake case) and the League of Oregon Cities, states that cities can enact appropriate timing and location regulations for sleeping on public land.
NBC5 news reporter Katie Streit is from her hometown of Las Vegas. Katie attended the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for reporting on the Shooting Anniversary in Las Vegas. She also hosted and produced the university’s political news show interviewing Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congressman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics became a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington DC. In her final months in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized by the Nevada Broadcaster’s Foundation for her journalistic achievements.
Katie looks forward to telling the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact them at [email protected]