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Housing & Homelessness

Activists Camp In Front Of Corvallis City Hall To Protest Policies For Unhoused People

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Chris Lehman
/
KLCC

A group of activists pitched their tents in front of Corvallis City Hall Thursday to protest city policies regarding unhoused people.

  

  

Corvallis resumed posting notices and clearing campsites in May after putting that policy on hold for more than a year due to the pandemic. The city does allow people to sleep in city parks and in front of city hall, but all belongings must be removed upon waking up.

 

That makes life even harder for people in a difficult situation, say activists.

“Our homeless community never has a chance to get their feet on the ground and start to utilize the resources that we have for them because they keep getting posted and moved,” said Robin Frojen, an employee of a local university. Frojen is camping in front of City Hall for 24 hours to protest the policy. "Corvallis has this not-in-my-backyard attitude, and these people are our community as well. We can't turn our backs on them."

The encampment went up during the pre-dawn hours, and by mid-morning Thursday, those in front of City Hall said they had had no interactions with city officials. The protestors planned to stay until early Friday morning.

"The issue of houselessness is being addressed through a partnership of local government agencies, service providers, and nonprofit partners," said City of Corvallis spokesperson Patrick Rollens in an email to KLCC.

 

Earlier in July, the Corvallis City Council rejected a proposal to once again pause the enforcement of regulations on camping. The motion failed with two votes in favor and six against. 

 

A report presented by city staff at the July 19 meeting indicated that the city and ODOT had posted notices about the pending clearing of roughly 85 illegal encampments since the resumption of the camping ban in May. 

 

The council then voted unanimously to direct city staff "to work with any social service or other governmental agency to have them store unhoused belongings during the day so the residents can get services and care without the fear of having their belongings taken away," according to minutes of the meeting.

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