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Ashland Considers Overnight Camping Policy

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People would not be allowed to camp overnight in Ashland city parks or at the Port of Ashland under a revised ordinance that was presented on Thursday (September 12) to city commissioners. The panel heard a first reading of the proposal requested by city police.

City Attorney “Sonny” Martin says officers want the clarification because they occasionally encounter transients, sometimes with criminal records, who stay in the parks overnight. He says the city’s current ordinance isn’t clear whether that’s permissible. The new plan would explicitly prohibit it.  

Sean Murray is Ashland’s parks director and he says it’s a matter of public safety.

“We had a couple of cases where we had some camping down by the riverfront and again we go from a public safety standpoint on what should we allow or what shouldn’t be allowed in the best interest of the citizens. So, it was definitely just something we wanted to update and address for the safety of the citizens.” –Sean Murray

Murray says the revised ordinance gives groups requesting use of the parks to stage events, a chance to obtain a waiver on the overnight restrictions. He says they can apply for special permission to stay overnight from city commissioners.