Homelessness: Changes to Camping Rules

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Homelessness impacts individuals, families, and communities across the country.

In Hillsboro and Washington County, there are not enough shelter beds for everyone who needs them on any given night.

As the City continues to pursue solutions with community partners and create a Year-Round Shelter, we also updated our camping rules to:

  • Recognize the need for community members to sleep and rest on public property
  • Preserve Hillsboro's livability for all
  • Comply with state and federal laws

Camping Rules in Effect

After reviewing community workgroup recommendations and survey results, the Hillsboro City Council adopted new camping rules in effect July 1.

People with no available shelter may camp overnight from 7 pm to 7 am on certain public property, including:

  • The public right-of-way, generally between the sidewalk and curb
  • Limited outdoor City-owned property
Camping is also allowed at registered private property and sanctioned campsites. Local service providers and the Hillsboro Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team work face-to-face with people living unsheltered to explain the new rules and connect them with services.

Community Engagement

Community-Wide Feedback

In March & April, all community members were invited to provide input via the Camping Rules Survey and Ask Us a Question tools available on this page.

Community Advisors: Camping Ordinance Workgroup

Thirty to 40 diverse community stakeholders met three times this spring to:

  • Learn about proposed ordinance updates
  • Review questions and community-wide survey results
  • Provide recommendations to the Hillsboro City Council

You can watch Workgroup session recordings and read discussion points here on Engage Hillsboro.

January 2024 Updates: Public Comment

In January 2024, community members were invited to provide public comment on two proposed updates to the rules for camping on public property, which are now in effect. See the summary below or read our latest news article to learn more.


Have a question? Ask us below.

Homelessness impacts individuals, families, and communities across the country.

In Hillsboro and Washington County, there are not enough shelter beds for everyone who needs them on any given night.

As the City continues to pursue solutions with community partners and create a Year-Round Shelter, we also updated our camping rules to:

  • Recognize the need for community members to sleep and rest on public property
  • Preserve Hillsboro's livability for all
  • Comply with state and federal laws

Camping Rules in Effect

After reviewing community workgroup recommendations and survey results, the Hillsboro City Council adopted new camping rules in effect July 1.

People with no available shelter may camp overnight from 7 pm to 7 am on certain public property, including:

  • The public right-of-way, generally between the sidewalk and curb
  • Limited outdoor City-owned property
Camping is also allowed at registered private property and sanctioned campsites. Local service providers and the Hillsboro Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team work face-to-face with people living unsheltered to explain the new rules and connect them with services.

Community Engagement

Community-Wide Feedback

In March & April, all community members were invited to provide input via the Camping Rules Survey and Ask Us a Question tools available on this page.

Community Advisors: Camping Ordinance Workgroup

Thirty to 40 diverse community stakeholders met three times this spring to:

  • Learn about proposed ordinance updates
  • Review questions and community-wide survey results
  • Provide recommendations to the Hillsboro City Council

You can watch Workgroup session recordings and read discussion points here on Engage Hillsboro.

January 2024 Updates: Public Comment

In January 2024, community members were invited to provide public comment on two proposed updates to the rules for camping on public property, which are now in effect. See the summary below or read our latest news article to learn more.


Have a question? Ask us below.

What questions do you have for us?

Please Note: Questions asked here may be published publicly along with their response from the City of Hillsboro. If you would like to ask your question privately, please visit the Who's Listening section of this page to find staff member contact information.

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    If given permission from a property owner. Can an individual stay in a functional rv on that property if zoned for multiple dwelling

    Codes aren't laws asked 3 months ago

    Thanks for reaching out with this question. 

    For occupied residential properties, a property owner may register with the city to have either one backyard tent or one occupied vehicle in a driveway, with some conditions such as having restroom and garbage disposal access available. An RV would be considered a motor vehicle under the definitions in this code. 

    To read more about conditions for private property and process to register visit our Camping Rules webpage.

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    Can I camp in front of business with permission

    Kkbolin asked 4 months ago

    Thank you for your question.

    Under our updated rules for camping on public property, camping in the public right-of-way (in general the area between the sidewalk and curb) is not allowed within 10 feet of business doorways, whether or not a business owner gives permission.

    However, business owners who own commercial property may register with the City to establish limited camping in a parking lot in areas that are zoned for commercial or industrial use.

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    Can I park my trailer on the street and camp in it

    Jsmith asked 8 months ago

    Thanks for this question.

     

    Persons can camp in vehicles or trailers overnight so long as the time, place, and manner rules are followed. The time camping is allowed is from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am. The places where camping is allowed are shown on the camping areas map. Streets highlighted in green are where camping can occur overnight. For those in vehicles/trailers, parking code will also need to be followed on those streets. For example, someone sleeping in a vehicle could not park overnight in a spot that limits parking to two hours- even if it is on a highlighted street.

     

    The manner section of the updated camping policy gives rules on how camping can occur, with rules such as not blocking sidewalks or leaving debris. You can read the time, place, and manner rules on the new Camping Rules webpage.

     

     

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    Why are preschools and daycares excluded from place restrictions? These are some of our most vulnerable citizen that should receive the same level of consideration as school aged children.

    Sam asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for your question. 

    The 500-foot buffer was set around K-12 schools because these are grade levels where children could be potentially walking or transiting to and from school independently.  

    Day care facilities have continual adult supervision from pick-up to drop-off. In addition, any day care facilities in residential zones are further protected by the exclusion of residential zones from camping areas. Camping is also prohibited within 10 feet of any driveway or business entrance, which applies to day cares in commercial and non-residential zones. Lastly, camping is not allowed from 7 am to 7 pm, which covers the majority of operating hours for day care facilities

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    Can you camp on public schools property during summer break

    April asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for your question. Under the updated camping rules, camping cannot occur within 500 feet of a K-12 school. This applies year-round and does not change in the summer.

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    I was unable to find a map of allowed areas as mentioned in the City Views newsletter. Where can this be found?

    Sam asked 8 months ago

    Hello,

    Thank you for your question. The camping areas map is available on our Camping Rules Webpage or on the Camping Rules Engage Project Page.

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    I the Quatama / 205th Max Park and Ride a place where homeless can camp?

    sharonwill asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for reaching out. The updated camping rules do not identify Tri-met parking lots as an area where camping would be allowed. Persons using these parking lots would need to follow TriMet rules for use.

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    How are homeless people expected to know that ok today no shelter beds are available ? Or reverse, ok today shelter beds are available ?

    ConcernedCitizens asked 9 months ago

    Good afternoon and thank you for your question. 

    The expectation would not be for community members who are living unsheltered to know whether or not shelter beds that meet their needs are available. 

    Instead, the Hillsboro Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team will work with compassion to complete individualized assessments and connect people who are camping with local outreach teams, service providers, and shelters that meet their needs. 

    The Crisis Intervention Team works with local shelters on a day-to-day basis and can connect community members with emergency shelter beds if they are available. 

    Individualized assessments are especially important as not every type of shelter may meet the needs of every person in the community. For example, a shelter with stairs and no elevator would not meet the needs of a person in a wheelchair. A shelter that does not allow animals would not meet the needs of a community member with a pet.

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    Will public camping be prohibited from sidewalks, bike paths and other right of ways?

    Red Deer asked 9 months ago

    Good afternoon and thank you for your question. 

    Under the proposed updated ordinance, "persons who do not have available shelter are permitted to camp on public rights-of-way located within the city or upon other city properties that are outdoors and open to the public between the hours of 7pm to 7 am." 

    Camping in the public rights-of-way is subject to place and manner restrictions outlined in the proposed Manager's Administrative Rules

    • Camping or camp materials may not obstruct any portion of any street, bike lane, or bike path

    • Camping may not obstruct the sidewalk
      • 36 inches of unobstructed passage must be available
      • Must allow access as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act


    Additional place restrictions would prohibit camping within residential zones, within 500 feet of homeless services, within 500 feet of schools attended by children under 18 (excluding preschools and daycares), within city parks and more. 

    For the full list of proposed place and manner restrictions, read the drafted Manager's Administrative Rules.

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    What forms or sources for keeping warm, will be allowed? In light of so many fires and property damage as a result of out of control homeless camp fires, will propane gas fires be permitted?

    Windylynn asked 10 months ago

    Thank you for your question. 

    Under the manner restrictions outlined in the proposed Manager's Administrative Rules

    "Open flames, recreational fires, burning of garbage, and bonfires are prohibited. Camp stoves and small cooking devices are allowed, as long as they are used in a safe manner and in conditions that do not place any person, property or structures in danger."

Page last updated: 14 Feb 2024, 10:34 AM