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Urban camping still a problem months after ordinance passes, says Bozeman business owner Dane Fletcher

The owner of The Pitt Training Facility says he's seen little change since Bozeman's urban camping ordinance went into effect.
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Posted at 4:06 PM, Apr 30, 2024

BOZEMAN — After the City of Bozeman passed a new urban camping ordinance in October 2023, businesses located near these campers say they haven't seen much of a difference and that the city isn't doing enough.

"The ordinance was a joke when they put it in place, and it's continued to be a joke since being put in place," says Dane Fletcher.

Fletcher, owner of The Pitt Training Facility in Bozeman says the city's ordinance to move campers every 30 days isn't making a difference to what he believes is a problem.

"They might be moving, but they're just shuffling. It's just like, Where's Waldo today? They're just shuffling cars and trailers here to this block, to that block," says Fletcher.

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Dane Fletcher, owner of The Pitt Training Facility

Fletcher and several other local business owners are involved in a lawsuit against the city. They're alleging that Bozeman has failed to enforce its own laws when it comes to people camping out on the street.

Specifically, the lawsuit says the city is allowing illegal activities including loitering, disturbing the peace, public inebriation, public urination and defecation, drug use, and obstructing publicly owned rights of way.

"If the city just did what's in the rule book, we'd be okay. And like, people wouldn't be camping on the side of the roads right now," says Fletcher.

WATCH: Full, uncut interview with Dane Fletcher

FULL INTERVIEW: Dane Fletcher talks about ongoing urban camping issues in Bozeman

He says he notices the trash cans and porta-potties in place to keep the streets clean but doesn't see them being used.

"Urinals outside, dumpsters outside, things like that. And then you just drive by and you have somebody peeing right next to the urinal that's there. So is it being used? It's not even being used; I'm confused by the whole—where's our tax money going?" says Fletcher.

Fletcher says what worries him most about the campers sticking around is not only his patrons but the safety of local children.

"These trailers are creeping in closer and closer to Chief Joseph and other schools. So, yes, I'm concerned for the adults, I'm concerned for everyone in town. I'm more so concerned for our kids and what's being allowed," says Fletcher.