Tacoma aims to ban camping, storing belongings near temporary shelters
Sep 9, 2022, 12:23 PM | Updated: 1:31 pm
Tacoma City Council will vote on a proposed ordinance prohibiting camping and storing personal belongings on public property around temporary shelters next Tuesday.
The ordinance was introduced by District 1 Councilmember John Hines, who is cited for drafting this measure in response to a sharp uptick in public health and safety concerns received from community members regarding areas near Tacoma shelters.
“No one is happy with the status quo,” said Councilmember Hines. “This proposed ordinance is meant to serve as a starting point for broader conversations on some of our biggest challenges. I think we can all agree that everyone in our community deserves to have a healthy and safe place to live – including those currently in encampments, in temporary shelters, and in the neighborhoods that surround them.”
Tacoma is in the midst of creating a temporary shelter — at 35th Street and Pacific Avenue — as city crews cleared multiple homeless encampments last month. Several RVs and vehicles remained alongside piles of trash and debris after their work began.
The municipal workers removed approximately 12,000 pounds of people’s belongings during the clearing, according to city officials.
Another shelter, constructed on Pacific Avenue near S. Division Lane, is currently disrupting community members and residents who, according to the Tacoma News Tribune, add that it has been the source of crime and safety issues while believing the city has not done enough to address the existing encampment.
“While this longer-term work is vital, the proposed ordinance I am introducing on September 13 acknowledges the reality that we need to address encampments and the impacts they have on our community right now,” said Councilmember Hines.
Property crime occurs at a 55.96 rate per 1,000 residents, more than double the state’s rate (27.28), according to Neighborhood Scout crime reports.