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Urban campers in Bozeman are adjusting as a result of a new local regulation



Bozeman, Montana – In Bozeman, urban campers are planning their next move.

With the implementation of Ordinance 2147, people are getting used to new regulations.

“I’ve been living in Montana for 45 years, and I’ve never had it like this,” said Timothy Bump.

Bump resides near Kimberwicke in a camper. “All I have is my camper,” said Bump. “It’s not easy living like this.”

He claims that although it’s difficult to get by in Bozeman, the ordinance’s enforcement, which requires residents like Bump to relocate their campers every thirty days, only makes things worse for him.

“I don’t have anybody to help pull this thing anywhere,” said Bump.

There used to be a line of campsites stretching down West Hemlock Street, bumper to bumper.

They are all gone now. There are tiny orange signs in their place. “NO CAMPING” was posted as a notice to urban campers that the area had to be cleared out.

The regulation forbids sleeping in trailers or RVs within 100 feet of a business entry or near residences, parks, schools, or daycare centers.

The Hemlock Street shops may be pleased that their streets are tidy, but the campers still have difficulties.

“We’re just being pushed further and further away,” said Bump. “I don’t know how I’ll pay for the fine we might get.”

In addition, the regulation permits up to $25 in fines from city officials following three warnings and mandates that residents store all of their possessions inside their trailer or RV when not in use.

“We have not issued any citations yet,” said Assistant City Manager Chuck Winn when added they’d like to keep it that way.

Over the past three days, city workers have been enforcing the new regulations in the urban encampments. He claims that most individuals are helpful and obedient.

“But there are some people that just aren’t interested in following rules and we have to work with them in a different way,” said Winn.

Using a records management system, the city keeps track of campers and cars that have stayed in one location for an extended period.

Additionally, abandoned cars are getting yellow labels applied to them.

“We are making a difference in this community,” said Winn. “If you talk to a hundred different people, you’ll get a hundred different stories on why these people are there. It’s compelling. We’re trying to be compassionate.”

However, Bump claims that he feels helpless throughout the whole thing.

“There’s no light at the end of the tunnel,” said Bump. “It’s just really sad.”


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