The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned a man’s conviction for peeing in public and ruled that the statute he was prosecuted under does not specifically prohibit urinating.
The statute in question is ORS 164.185, which pertains to offensive littering, and has been used previously to arrest people for relieving themselves in public. As a result of the ruling, some district attorneys believe it will not be possible to prosecute people for peeing in public.
The decision adds controversy to Portland’s homeless issues, in which homeless people have been accused of creating a “cesspool” in downtown Portland, with garbage, petty crime, and even public defecation in front of downtown businesses.
The defendant was arrested after he was spotted urinating by a security guard on the side of a building after coming to Portland from California on a road trip.
The defendant claimed he had tried to use a gas station restroom but that it had not been available to the public; he further claimed he had tried to use a Subway bathroom but that it was only available to customers and the line was long. The defendant was initially convicted at misdemeanor trial before his conviction was overturned.
The full text of the Court of Appeals opinion can be read here.