Samantha Klausen JD’20 and several other Willamette Law students attended the Salem City Council meeting September 25 to speak out against the proposed sit-lie ordinance. The ordinance would have made it illegal for anyone to sit or lie on city sidewalks between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Some felt like it was unfairly directed at the homeless.
Salem Chief of Police Jerry Moore said the ordinance wasn’t meant to criminalize homelessness, but to help get people into a better living situation.
Klausen, a first-year Willamette Law student whose husband co-owns a business in downtown Salem, said she could see the city of Salem’s attempt was to make the community safe and livable.
“But to hear that my city is considering a proposal that targets and dehumanizes the most vulnerable part of our population is gut-wrenching,” she said.
She has lived in the Salem-Keizer area her whole life and said she wants to be proud of where she’s from.
“But for the first time in my life, I’m embarrassed by the reputation my city is building.”
Willamette Law students Rebecca Larson JD'19, Gordon Roth JD'18 and Carrie Elmore JD'19 also testified against the ordinance, in addition to many other Salem residents. The proposal was eventually rejected by the council, which instead decided the mayor should convene a task force to delve deeper into homelessness in Salem.
About Willamette University College of Law
Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship and mentorship. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.