Sit-Lie Ban Returns to Fort Collins: Rise Up, Fight Back!

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City Council is trying to push through two Homeless Criminalization Ordinances. They will include a sit/lie ban, limiting the time that someone can sit on a bench as well as reserving jail beds for people who are "repeat municipal code violators."

We need to stop this thing!

Important dates:

Tuesday, Feb 21st 6pm Regular city council meeting--come and speak against sit/lie

Thursday, Feb 23rd, 6pm Aztlan Cener--City is having an "outreach meeting" Come and let them know that downtown is for everyone. Also, you can take their survey: http://www.fcgov.com/downtownbehavior/index.php

Friday, February 24th Sit in in Oak Street Plaza 3pm. Bring friends, children, song, musical instruments, signs

Tuesday, March 7th 6pm. City council vote.


What would the proposed sit-lie ban do? Current drafts of the ordinance indicate that it would

  • Prohibit sitting or lying on public sidewalks or plazas between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m.
  • Prohibit reclining or lying down on a chair, bench, or other objects designed for sitting
  • Prohibit leaving personal property unattended on a public chair or bench.
  • Prohibit people from sitting on a bench for longer than one hour.
  • Prohibit people from sitting on things not designed for sitting, such as a drinking fountain, planter, or bicycle rack.
  • Prohibit sitting or lying in a restroom, aside from on designated seats such as a toilet.
  • Prohibit storing personal property in the right-of-way. This would be applied citywide.

The proposed ordinance makes exceptions for those who are:

  • Experiencing a medical emergency
  • Vendors
  • Parade, festival, or performance participants
  • Children in designated play areas

These restrictions would only be applied to the downtown area, bounded by the same area that encompassed the Downtown Smoke-Free Zone.

In addition to this proposal, City Council has decided to install new surveillance cameras downtown, launched a new anti-panhandling campaign (in collaboration with the Downtown Business Association), and is considering a proposal to permanently reserve three spaces in the Larimer County Jail for "repeat municipal offenders." Currently, lack of jail space means that petty, non-violent offenders are often bonded out of jail; this last proposal would instead reserve space in the detention center for some people accused (though not convicted) of petty municipal misconduct. That's four separate measures aimed at increasing police scrutiny, harassment, stigmatization, and criminalization of people experiencing homelessness in Fort Collins.

Downtown is for all of us. We are not a community that excludes certain people, or certain populations, from equal access to public spaces.

Sit-lie bans are used in a discriminatory manner, used to drive homeless people out of business/downtown areas and further into the margins.

If enforced without discrimination, a ban like this would see elderly people, sick people, people with disabilities, nursing moms, parents with small children, multigenerational families, and more facing a radical rise in tickets for excessive sitting.

Sit-lie bans are not effective at reducing crime, but are effective at increasing the burden on the most marginalized members of our community.

We all suffer from governments that waste resources and refuse to develop real solutions to community issues, but the people whose very existence is criminalized suffer the most.

The City already has a law against obstructing sidewalks (FC-17-128).

This law would create an entirely new class of criminal behavior - the behavior of existing in public spaces as a person who carries many personal belongings or requires a place to sit or lie.

Proposals like this are damaging to long-term efforts to find real solutions. They waste resources, and increase alienation, stigmatization, and marginalization of already-marginalized people.

Say "NO" to a sit-lie ban in Fort Collins.


Media coverage:

Citizens Protest Anti-homeless Legislation Outside City Hall, The Rocky Mountain Collegian: https://collegian.com/2017/01/citizens-protest-anti-homelessness-legisla...

CTV Channel 11 (clip begins at 7:25): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEoA_fKph3o&feature=player_embedded&list...

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