Vancouver police work to remove homeless encampments

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Vancouver police are working to clear out homeless encampments after a change to the city's camping ordinance allowed officers to enforce the ban.

The Columbian reports that the city council voted in September to change an unlawful ordinance that banned camping at all times to allow camping from 9:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. The change was in response to a federal Department of Justice opinion that said it is unconstitutional to outlaw camping in all places at all times. The new rules took effect Wednesday.

The new ordinance allows officers to enforce the camping ordinance, knowing it was legally sound.

Assistant Police Chief Mike Lester says the department is trying to avoid doing sweeps and writing tickets, and instead are passing out fliers about the new rules.