The Olympia City Council has passed an Ordinance on Tuesday to banning campers on public property. Out of 7 Council Members, 6 presented their votes in favor of the ban which will come into effect from 8th February 2013. It is learnt that more than 20 people were against the ordinance shouting “shame on you” when it was passed. The steps of City Hall, the artesian well and two parklets also fall under the ban.
The City Manager called for the ban taking into view the health and safety concerns of people camping outside the City Hall. He says that homeless camping has become routine on the steps of City Hall since its opening and the number increased from 2 or 3 to 15 to 18.
The issues that resulted in ban were smoking at the entrance and shouting at security guards at the place.
Over 20 businesses signed a letter along with Rob Richards, acting against the ordinance including Traditions for Trade, Rainy Day Records and Old School Pizzeria. Student Anna Bean carried a sign board with signatures from 100 and above peers against the ordinance.
City Mayor Stephen Buxbaum expressed an interest in keeping $35,000 of money aside for social services, to built low-barrier shelters and public restrooms for the homeless. He said that he was waiting for some movement on homeless services and it is one of the reasons to support the ordinance.