Grants Pass mayor weighs in on city’s Supreme Court case

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Grants Pass Mayor Sara Bristol spoke with NBC5 about the Supreme Court case Tuesday, centered on whether or not the city can criminalize sleeping in public spaces.

Monday saw the first oral arguments in front of the country’s highest court, in a case that’s garnering nationwide attention. Mayor Sara Bristol said she’s looking forward to the issue coming to a conclusion because she feels the city has been in a ‘legal limbo.’

Since 2020, Grants Pass has been under an injunction that requires the city to allow unhoused people to camp in all parks rather than specific ones. Mayor Bristol said Grants Pass doesn’t have the same discretion other cities now have to choose time, place and manner for the unhoused, highlighted in 2021’s House Bill 3115; and she said the reason boils down to the city waiting to hear from the Supreme Court on what they can do.

Mayor Bristol said it is unfortunate the city is on the national stage for this case.

“It’s not the spotlight that I would want for this community but I do think that it does come down to that issue of shelter. We don’t have a low barrier shelter; the past city council had taken steps to remove homeless people from town or make it uncomfortable for them.”

Mayor Bristol said she’s optimistic the city will be able to find a solution that complies with whatever the Supreme Court rules and now there are more people and groups who are involved in establishing shelters and taking care of the homeless population. The Supreme Court is expected to make its decision on the case in June or July.


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Ben Blake is a Producer/Reporter for NBC5 News. He’s a Klamath Falls native who graduated from Oregon State University with a Digital Communication degree. While at OSU, he was a producer and on-air talent at KBVR-TV and KBVR-FM. He also worked for PAC-12 Networks and OSU Athletics. In his free time, Ben likes to play just about any sport. He also plays the piano, guitar, and trumpet.
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