Cities, counties await Supreme Court action

By on Friday, February 9th, 2024 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – The U.S. Supreme Court will consider the ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court that forced communities in the West to rewrite their ordinances dealing with people sleeping on public property. That court basically dictated that unless the community can provide low-barrier shelter services for the homeless population, it cannot prevent them from resting in public places.

“Basically what it boils down to is it’s the edict of how local communities can shape their ordinances to define how our public spaces are used or abused,” Pendleton Police Chief Chuck Byram said. “Now, it’s a blanket edict by the court saying this is the box you have to play in.”

Now, the Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear the case involving the Grants Pass decision. Political observers have said that seems to be an indication that the high court plans to at least make changes to the ruling. Byram thinks that would be the right thing to do.

“I think you have to move those goalposts back to where you have more local control, so that communities can have more control over what is allowed in their communities without trampling civil rights,” he said. “I will be interested to see what the court decides on this.”