Councilors OK bus shelter loitering ban


February 19, 2020

The Sweet Home City Council last week gave final approval to a new ordinance that bans the use of bus shelters for any other purpose than waiting for a bus.

The council voted 5-1 to approve the ordinance during its regular meeting on Feb. 11 following the third reading of the law. It will take effect March 12.

Under the ordinance, no one is allowed to remain in a bus shelter for more than two hours in a single 24-hour period. They are prohibited from placing objects on the seats or floor, inhibiting the use of the shelter; and people are prohibited from lying across the seats or floor of a bus shelter.

Anyone cited for violating any city ordinance or state law in a shelter or within 20 feet of a shelter may be excluded from the shelters and within 20 feet of a shelter for 30 days. Subsequent exclusions within two years will be last 90 days.

The ordinance allows an appeal to the city manager or his/her designee. Disabled persons who are transit-dependent may not be excluded except for violent, seriously disruptive criminal conduct or for posing a serious threat to the safety of others or to the transit system.

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A qualified exclusion may be granted for those who must use the transit system for a variety of necessary purposes, such as school or training, medical and legal appointments, critical services, work and obtaining food, clothing and necessary household items.

Present at the meeting were councilors Cortney Nash, Lisa Gourley, Mayor Greg Mahler, Diane Gerson, James Goble and Dave Trask.

Gerson voted no on the ordinance. She has previously objected to the ordinance because the city has already enacted several other exclusions.

In other business, the council held the first reading of ordinance updates.

City Attorney Robert Snyder told the council that the staff has had a goal of moving all fees and charges out of the city ordinance into a document that is reviewed, adjusted and approved annually by the City Council as a resolution.

Most of the updates move fees out of the ordinance, but it also includes updates based on changes in state law.

They include:

- An update to an ordinance prohibiting the use of remote-controlled aircraft within city limits will include a provision recognizing that drones are regulated by the state government.

- An ordinance governing possession of marijuana will be eliminated, based on the changes in state law.

- An update that would allow more flexibility in which city staff members can grant a permit for “heavy motor truck traffic” on city streets. Snyder said that heavy trucks are normally required to remain on specific routes without a permit.


- Updates moving prohibitions of urinating and defecating in public places and consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages in public to the city’s ordinance governing chronic nuisance properties.

- An update that will cover miniature donkeys and mules the same way it deals with miniature horses.

The ordinance updates move forward to a second reading on Feb. 25. After a third reading on March 10, the council may consider whether to approve them.


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