By Taxpayers Association of Oregon
HB 3501 creates a “right to rest” and would expand the rights of homeless trespassing. It is up for a hearing on May 4th in the House Committee on Housing and Homeless.
The Bill states that is should be a “public policy of Oregon to guarantee persons experiencing homelessness participation in the social and economic life of this state, remunerative employment, use of and free movement within public spaces, participation in and receipt of the benefits of the services, programs and activities of state government and local governments and housing accommodations of the person’s choice”
Guaranteeing homeless “rights’ has so far meant blocking rights of others … such as a disabled person’s access to a sidewalk or a small business owners access to his/her businesses.
Portland is being sued on this very issue.
A small business selling goods must register and comply with thousands of laws, but if loots steal the product and sell the same product on open street markets, then the homeless person is allowed to be free of all regulations and taxes.
Because there is no official bill explanation as of yet, here is the language below:
SECTION 2. Sections 3 to 6 of this 2023 Act shall be known and may be cited as the
Oregon Right to Rest Act.
SECTION 3. (1) The Legislative Assembly finds that:
(a) Many persons in Oregon have experienced homelessness as a result of economic
hardship, a shortage of safe and affordable housing, the inability to obtain gainful employ-
ment and a disintegrating social safety net system; and
(b) Decriminalization of rest allows local governments to redirect resources from local
law enforcement activities to activities that address the root causes of homelessness and
(2) It is declared to be the public policy of Oregon to guarantee persons experiencing
homelessness participation in the social and economic life of this state, remunerative em-
ployment, use of and free movement within public spaces, participation in and receipt of the
benefits of the services, programs and activities of state government and local governments
and housing accommodations of the person’s choice, without discrimination.
SECTION 4. As used in sections 3 to 6 of this 2023 Act:
(1) “Harassment” means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a person
experiencing homelessness that a reasonable person would consider as seriously alarming,
tormenting or terrorizing of the person experiencing homelessness.
(2) “Housing status” means the residential status of a person experiencing homelessness.
(3) “Local government” has the meaning given that term in ORS 174.116.
(4) “Motor vehicle” has the meaning given that term in ORS 801.360.
(5)(a) “Persons experiencing homelessness” means persons who lack, or are perceived to
lack, a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.
(b) “Persons experiencing homelessness” includes persons who:
(A) Share the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship or a similar reason;
(B) Live in motels, hotels, trailer parks or campgrounds due to the lack of alternative
(C) Live in emergency or transitional shelters;
(D) Are abandoned in hospitals;
(E) Are awaiting foster care placement;
(F) Have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for
or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;
(G) Live in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or
train stations or similar settings; or
(H) Are migratory and otherwise experiencing homelessness as described in this sub-
(6)(a) “Public space” means any property that is owned, in whole or in part, by state
government or a local government, or upon which there is an easement for public use, and
that is held open to the public.
(b) “Public space” includes but is not limited to plazas, courtyards, parking lots, side-
walks, public transportation facilities and services, public buildings and parks.
(c) “Public space” does not mean a private business establishment.
(7) “Recreational vehicle” has the meaning given that term in ORS 650.300.
(8) “Rest” means the state of sleeping or not moving or the state of holding certain
postures that include but are not limited to sitting, standing, leaning, kneeling, squatting or
lying on the ground or other surface.
(9) “State government” has the meaning given that term in ORS 174.111.
SECTION 5. (1) In enacting sections 3 to 6 of this 2023 Act, it is the intent of the Legis-
lative Assembly that:
(a) Persons experiencing homelessness be permitted to use public spaces in the same
manner as any other person without discrimination based on their housing status;
(b) A person experiencing homelessness has a privacy interest and a reasonable expec-
tation of privacy in any property belonging to the person, regardless of whether the property
is located in a public space; and
(c) Every person in this state, including persons experiencing homelessness, have the
rights set forth in subsection (2) of this section to be exercised without being subject to
harassment, citation or arrest by law enforcement officers, public or private security per-
sonnel or employees of local governments.
(2) Notwithstanding any other law or regulation of state government or local govern-
ment, a person experiencing homelessness has the following rights:
(a) To use and move freely in public spaces without discrimination and time limitations
that are based on housing status.
(b) To rest in public spaces and seek protection from adverse weather conditions that are
unsuitable for human exposure in a manner that does not obstruct human or vehicle traffic.
(c) To eat, share, accept or give food in any public space in which having food is not
(d) To pray, meditate, worship or practice religion in public spaces without discrimination
based on housing status.
(e) To occupy a motor vehicle or a recreational vehicle provided that the vehicle is legally
parked on public property or on private property with the permission of the private property
(3) Subsection (2) of this section does not apply if the public space is closed to the general
public or requires a fee for entry. When this subsection applies, and it is legal and reasonable
to do so, law enforcement or local officials shall clearly designate and provide an appropriate
alternative place for persons experiencing homelessness to rest without time limitations in
the near vicinity.
(4) An affirmative defense is available to a person experiencing homelessness to a civil
or criminal charge related to use of public spaces that the person was exercising the rights
set forth in this section.
SECTION 6. (1) It is an unlawful practice for any person to deny, refuse, restrict or
withhold from a person experiencing homelessness any of the rights listed in section 5 of this
(2) Complaints alleging an unlawful practice under this section may be filed by the
aggrieved person, or by a person lawfully acting on behalf of the aggrieved person, with the
Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries in the manner provided by ORS
659A.820. The commissioner shall enforce this section in the manner provided in this chapter
regarding other unlawful practices.
(3) Violation of this section subjects the violator to the civil remedies and penalties provided in this chapter.
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