MOSES LAKE, Wash. — The Moses Lake City Council approved an ordinance prohibiting camping or the use of camping equipment in city parks Tuesday.
In a six to one vote, the council chose to ban camping in city parks at all times. The ordinance also allows the police department to charge people with criminal trespass if they are on park grounds between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., unless they engage in activity within a special-use area.
The ordinance defined prohibited camping equipment as cots, beds, sleeping bags, blankets, mattresses, hammocks, or non-city designated cooking equipment. The new regulations will go into effect five days after publication by the city.
The ordinance modified existing sections of the Moses Lake municipal code titled “Hours of Operation” and “Prohibited Acts.” The council also voted down another ordinance that would ban camping in all public spaces during the day.
The ordinances came in response to a federal appeals court ruling in Boise, Idaho decided in September that found prohibiting camping in all public places at all times when there are insufficient shelter beds to house the homeless is unconstitutional. The ruling forced Moses Lake to repeal and replace an ordinance adopted in 1987 that prohibited camping on any city-owned property at all times.
The City stated in the ordinance documents that the ordinance was necessary to maintain public health and safety.