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The council also discussed camping code revisions coming in a House Bill next July.

PMG FILE PHOTO  - While resident satisfaction was lower in some areas than 2020, a recent community survey showed that citizens were still pleased in categories like parks and recreation. Wilsonville residents are slightly less satisfied with the state of the community compared to 2020, according to survey results presented at a City Council meeting Monday, Aug. 15.

The survey, which was sent by to 2,800 randomly-chosen Wilsonville residents and also available online, gauged quality of life and compared the city to its counterparts locally and nationally. A total of 413 people returned the survey by mail, while 119 individuals completed the online survey.

As compared to the 2020 survey, ratings declined across the board. However, both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and recent economic inflation are likely to have played roles in the ratings, Communications and Marketing Director Bill Evans.

"I was kind of surprised that it was as positive as it was," City Councilor Charlotte Lehan said. "I think (the pandemic) has put a lot of us, even those without kids, in a crankier than usual mood."

Availability of affordable housing and quality child care, as well as overall cost of living, were areas for concern. Availability of affordable health care was rated below the national average.

"Wilsonville's scores remained quite positive when compared to other communities," Evans said.

Wilsonville shined brightest in the parks and recreation and quality of transportation categories, as both were far above the national benchmark. Additionally, ratings for all modes of transportation were above national averages.

Street lighting, street cleaning and bus or transit services were top 10 among all communities surveyed.

Variety of housing options was one of the only categories to have a lower than 50% rate of "great" or "excellent" responses. Housing variety has been an ongoing topic within the city, especially given the development of the nascent Frog Pond residential area.

Overall, while individuals are feeling the economic downturn's effect on affordability across the board — given the low numbers across the board in affordability questions — and the pandemic has stunted community engagement, the facets people find most important (safety, parks and rec, natural environment) generated the most positive scores.

Moving forward, residents would like to see improvements to affordability and traffic/infrastructure.

Rights to rest

The city's law clerk, Nick McCormick, updated the council on potential camping code revisions in response to House Bill 3115, which will go into effect July 1, 2023. The bill was originally passed by the state Legislature in 2021.

The bill states that any regulations imposed by local governments regarding camping or otherwise taking shelter on public property must be "objectively reasonable" — which is a statutory standard that will be defined by each local government. Cities can decide their own limits over park hours and use.

It also sets up an affirmative defense clause which allows those potentially affected to fight against a potential infraction and private right of action for any citizen who believes the regulations in place are unreasonable. Attorney fees are included at judges' discretion.

As of now, the city prohibits camping on its property. No overnight camping is authorized unless first cleared in writing by the Council. If unauthorized, no person shall enter or remain in a park area past closing time. Furthermore, the city's guidelines state that no person shall obstruct any foot traffic on sidewalks.

If updates to local rules are necessary, the city will do community outreach in the fall and the council will hold a series of work sessions in early 2023 for proposed revisions and further community feedback. The deadline for any final revisions would be in April 2023.

"We've already formed an intradepartmental team to work on this project and have already started identifying the particular code revisions that apply to camping to see if those are compliant. I anticipate, at the very least, even if the code stays the way it is, that we'll probably have some discussion to make sure they meet the objectively reasonable analysis," City Attorney Amanda Guile-Hinman said.

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