YAKIMA, Wash.-- Dozens of people walk along the Yakima Greenway every day, but a growing number of homeless camps have forced Yakima County officials to consider making it illegal for anyone to stay there overnight.
Tuesday, commissioners will consider an ordinance that would make it illegal for anyone to camp or stay overnight anywhere along the Greenway.
The walking path sits mostly on county land and over the years, homeless people have set up camps along the Greenway. Something officials says is a serious public health and safety issue.
But, there are no laws on the books to give law enforcement the right to make them leave. So now, they're considering adopting the ordinance. Something Greenway officials think will help fix the problem.
"It's important that it be safe. And it's important that the resources, the actual physical trees, and the wildlife, and the riverbanks be preserved. It's just not designed for camping," said Sarah Wixson, president of the Yakima Greenway Board.
She says over the summer there were several fires along the Greenway all started near those homeless camps that could have put people in danger.
Wixson says they do sympathize with the people living there but adds the area is just not safe for people to live on.