Bernalillo County expected to support city in Supreme Court appeal
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There’s been quite the back and forth over what to do with homeless camps in the metro. Recently, a judge ruled city workers can’t remove those camps unless they take certain steps first.
Now, the city is appealing that decision to the state Supreme Court, and it has some backup from Bernalillo County.
KOB 4 spoke with one county commissioner about his decision to support the city’s fight.
“It would affect places like where we’re standing right here today,” said Bernalillo County Commissioner of District 5, Eric Olivas.
Olivas is talking about a judge’s recent decision regarding homeless camps in parts of the metro.
This ruling directly impacts how the City of Albuquerque handles homeless encampments and homeless people’s property.
Olivas is introducing a proposal at Tuesday’s Bernalillo County Commission meeting to support the city’s recent appeal to that decision.
“This ruling by judge Allison has really broad, wide-ranging effects. But the part that we’re really talking about is a section in there that allows camping in on public property, public spaces with some very limited exceptions,” said Olivas.
Olivas says he doesn’t want public parks to turn into large scale homeless camps again, like Coronado Park — until it was cleaned out in 2022.
“I think there’s a lot of reasons why that’s problematic because we can have, it’s really unsafe for individuals that live in those encampments, of course, for the unhoused themselves, victims of sexual violence, physical violence. There’s a lot of trauma that happens in those encampments,” Olivas said.
Adding it would make these spaces unsafe for families and others wanting to enjoy the public areas.
But Olivas says he and the county support the rest of the judge’s ruling, especially the handling of property.
“We support that, you know, we do understand that, that for many individuals, what’s in their, in their shopping cart, or in their tent may be everything that they own, and they have a reasonable expectation that we will preserve those items,” said Olivas.
Olivas says he’s hopeful the motion will pass Tuesday night.
Right now, the city and the county are still waiting for the ruling from the New Mexico Supreme Court on the appeal.
But Olivas says by adding the county’s voice to this matter, he hopes to strengthen the city’s argument.