Skip to Content

SCOTUS to hear homeless camps case this week

PORTLAND, Ore. (NBC, KYMA/KECY) - The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case on Monday, April 22, brought by homeless individuals in Grants Pass, Oregon that could set a new precedent for fining people for sleeping outside.

It can be easier to ignore all the tents that line the streets in Downtown Portland if you're driving, but it's not so simple if you're on foot.

"I just kind of watch where I walk and kind of just keep my distance," said Linda Krogh, a Portland resident.

Krogh lives near Portland State University.

"Watching our streets be full of tents and garbage, and people peeing against the buildingss, and I mean to me, it's not normal," Krogh spoke.

Court case

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that could change how cities like Portland deal with homelessness.

The case is Grants Pass vs. Johnson and the court will have to decide if cities can fine or jail homeless people for camping in public.

"There has not been a homelessness case that has gone this far through the legal system, ever," said Jeremiah Hayden with Street Roots, a social justice non-profit newspaper based in Portland.

Hayden is in Washington, D.C. following the trial.

"They've started putting in some pretty extreme measures to make it literally impossible to be homeless in Grants Pass without getting increasing fines and then eventually getting kicked out of parks which then leads to jail time."

Jeremiah Hayden, Street Roots


The small Oregon town says they need these tools to prevent sprawling encampments.

"No jurisdiction, no city or county should be able to make homelessness a crime without providing the kind of shelter that we need in each community," said Chuck Currie, a minister and a homeless advocate.

Currie argues the criminal justice system will just make it harder for homeless people to get into housing.

"What we need is more affordable housing more mental health care and more drug treatment in our community," Currie expressed.

The issue isn't whether homelessness is a problem, but how to solve it, and Krogh doesn't think we're any closer to a solution.

"You know, I'm old, and I don't think it's going to get straightened around before I die. That's how I feel," Krogh shared.

Article Topic Follows: National-World

Jump to comments ↓

NBC News

Author Profile Photo

Dillon Fuhrman

If you have any story ideas, reach out to him at


KYMA KECY is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content