<em>A homeless camp in Wilderness Park is pictured. 	 	 </em>Elizabeth Stafford/Courtesy photo

A homeless camp in Wilderness Park is pictured. Elizabeth Stafford/Courtesy photo

Poulsbo’s anti-homeless camping laws could be unconstitutional

A recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned an Idaho district court ruling that banned sleeping in public spaces. The ruling will likely have an effect on Poulsbo’s municipal code in the days ahead.

Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson raised the issue during a city council meeting on Wednesday.

“This morning, I heard about a ruling for the 9th Circuit Court, federal government, saying effectively that a lot of our camping ordinances — the ways that we deal with people that are homeless — is in fact not appropriate and not correct,” the mayor said. “I immediately contacted the city attorney. He said, ‘Yes, that is absolutely the case. We’re going to have to redraft our camping ordinance.’

“I am not sure of the particulars of it, but what I heard is the reason why is we have to have better accommodations to provide services for homeless populations, and they cannot be religiously based,” she added.

In June, the mayor drew both criticism and praise after cleaning up an apparent homeless encampment in Poulsbo’s Wilderness Park after photos were posted to the North Kitsap Community Facebook Group.

Following the incident, Erickson referred to Poulsbo Municipal Code which expressly prohibits camping in all city parks.

“Our urban parks are not equipped for overnight camping, and the city of Poulsbo made that decision way before I got into public office,” Erickson said. While camping was prohibited, the mayor said, the locations had been monitored in an attempt to make contact with those who had been using the site.

“We were kind of watching for a while. We didn’t see anybody using the camp, so it’s hard to reach out when there’s nobody there.”

—Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter with Kitsap News Group. Nick can be reached at ntwietmeyer@soundpublishing.com

More in News

Poulsbo Police Blotter April 8-21

Incidents April 8-21 04/08/2019 - 15:21 - Hit and run - 1st… Continue reading

Former North Kitsap Herald editor pens history of Point No Point

The former editor of the North Kitsap Herald, Richard Walker has written… Continue reading

AG Ferguson’s bill to ban 3D-printed guns passes Legislature

The House agreed to the Senate amendment by a vote of 56-40; the measure now heads to Gov. Inslee

Winners and losers ID’d in legislative session

Tobacco age raised, death penalty bill defeated in 2019 legislative session

Agate Dreams introduces online cannabis ordering and pickup service

The Suquamish cannabis retailer became the first in North Kitsap to offer such a service

Port Orchard’s wayfaring welcome sign debuts

New signage is part of city’s Tremont Street widening project

Registration now open for Hammer it Home Softball Tournament

Teams can be formed from different builder and associate businesses

Manette Park reopens

The City of Bremerton Parks & Recreation Department held a grand reopening… Continue reading

State and county health officials say Dyes Inlet pollution is not a new problem

Dyes Inlet facing possible commercial shellfish harvest restrictions due to high levels of bacteria

Most Read