TACOMA, Wash. – Emotions were high inside Tacoma City Council chambers Tuesday night. The City Council voted 8-1 to approve an ordinance that bans tents from Tacoma Metro Parks.
Public comments leading up to the vote lasted over an hour.
Dozens of people advocated for people experiencing homelessness, and urged city leaders to find a housing solution for people before enforcing the ordinance.
“We get animals off the streets pretty much right away and put them in a shelter and find homes for them. Why aren’t we doing this with human beings?” Nikie Walters said.
The council voted on a 60-day extension on the park ordinance, which means the ban on tents will not go into effect until December.
The mayor and council members say they’re committed to finding a solution to address the housing issue within that time frame.
This is the first time in ten years the city’s municipal park ordinance is being updated. The new park ordinance also bans vaping and drones, and allows the park district to adopt a code of conduct to regulate activity and behavior in the parks.