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Tulsa organizations pen letter to city opposing sidewalk obstruction proposal

Tulsa City Council Public Works Committee
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jun 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-15 18:26:14-04

TULSA, Okla. — A coalition of various organizations in Tulsa sent a letter to the city in opposition to Mayor G.T. Bynum's proposal about the obstruction of sidewalks

The letter addresses Bynum directly while including city councilors in the message signed by several entities including A Way Home for Tulsa, the Tulsa Day Center, DVIS and the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma.

"Tulsa is not only a leader in our state but in our nation in our approaches to this issue," writes Melanie Stewart, Chair for A Way Home for Tulsa. "This proposed change in ordinance puts that momentum and progress at great risk."

Bynum originally proposed the ordinance in May. Stewart the policy would result in individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness being fined, arrested, and jailed.

"This proposed change in ordinance represents an incredibly costly and risky non-solution, and to that end, we are asking you to withdraw this amendment from consideration until we have had a chance—as partners—to discuss evidence-based solutions instead of forcing the taxpayers of Tulsa to foot the bill for something that research has shown time and time again makes the problem worse," Stewart says.

The Tulsa City Council Public Works Committee discussed the letter and ordinance in their meeting on Wednesday afternoon, but more discussion will be had before any action is taken.

“My focus today is on the City’s pending budget vote this evening," Bynum said in a statement to 2 News Oklahoma on Wednesday. "I have not had time to give the letter in question the consideration it deserves, so can not comment on it at this time.”

Here is the full letter sent Wednesday:

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