Homeless woman sues Grants Pass over anti-camping ordinance

She argues there's no alternative housing or shelters where she can stay.

Posted: Oct 17, 2018 3:15 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2019 6:46 AM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - A class-action lawsuit claims the city of Grants Pass is running homeless people out of town, violating their constitutional rights.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports the suit, filed Monday by plaintiff Debra Blake, alleges the city's anti-camping ordinance and criminal trespass laws represent cruel and unusual punishment and are selectively enforced against the homeless population, violating their Eighth and 14th Amendment rights.

Blake, identified in the suit as "an involuntarily homeless resident," says the only shelters in the city are nearly always full.

Blake says Grants Pass police often tell her to "move along," and she has faced repeated fines for sleeping in an alley or for prohibited camping.

Blake argues there's no alternative housing or shelters where she can stay.

Grants Pass attorney Mark Bartholomew and Mayor Darin Fowler did not immediately return messages for comment.

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