Pamplin Media Group – Class-action lawsuit filed as homeless sweeps increase

The lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges Portland is failing to legally keep the possessions of the homeless.

A class action lawsuit was filed against the city of Portland on Monday, May 24, on behalf of four homeless people alleging the city and its partners would not hold up personal belongings during the camping sweep.

The lawsuit came the same day the city responded to recent changes as its team removed homeless camps to reduce the impact.

Current Oregon law requires the city and its contractors, like Rapid Response, to keep property in a homeless camp for 30 days unless the property is useless or unsanitary.

However, the lawsuit stated that the plaintiffs who were swept from town for the past six months had not done so, and that plaintiffs and others were induced to buy new tents and other necessities for survival.

Mark Usher, one of the plaintiffs, was on a Laurelhurst Park sweep in February 2021, which resulted in his losing a pair of gloves that helped with a neuropathy problem that resulted in pain in his hands. This resulted in the lawsuit filed by attorney Michael Voller.

“Mr. Usher was told that he had 20 minutes to move all of his belongings,” the lawsuit read. “While Mr. Usher was removing the rest of his belongings from his tent, a Portland police officer entered Mr. Usher’s tent without asking Mr. Usher’s permission and started kicking Mr. Usher’s belongings into a black plastic bag.”

Usher said he went to a warehouse to get the gloves. Then he found that, according to the lawsuit, they had not been inventoried as required by law.

In addition, the lawsuit asks the city how law enforcement will determine whether a report of criminal activity in a camp is “credible,” which was one of the criteria the city announced last week.

Fuller told KOIN 6 News that the law that protects against it is not being followed, adding that it is important for the city to obey the law “because this is property that is being taken from the poorest of us. And you know the law should protect everyone equally. ” . ”

“We’d heard from people on the street for the past few months that they were being treated … roughly during these searches,” Fuller said. “They had kicked their property for their property, were taken away from them or thrown away when it shouldn’t have been.”

A city spokesman said he would not comment on any pending litigation.

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.

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