City cleans up hazards at Missoula homeless encampment; ACLU monitors

Workers for the city of Missoula on Wednesday cleaned public health hazards from a location on a public street and sidewalks where people living unhoused have gathered in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, a staff member for the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana said the organization is monitoring the city’s interactions with unhoused members of the community to make sure all legal rights are being upheld.

Eran Pehan, the city’s director of the Office of Community Planning, Development and Innovation, explained that there were public health hazards at an encampment on Pine Street in the public right-of-way.

“On Monday, we posted notice of a clean-up for the Pine Street right-of-way due to copious amounts of urine, feces, and trash in the public right of way (on the sidewalks and streets),” Pehan said in an email. “Our intention was to alert people camping in RVs and tents that we needed them to contain their belongings within their RV, or for tent campers, to temporarily remove their tent from the sidewalk so that we could remove these health hazards. Our intention was not to permanently displace anyone from camping in this right-of-way.”

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