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Albuquerque City Councilor announces legislation to repeal sanctioned encampments

Gino Gutierrez
Albuquerque City Councilor Brook Bassan speaks to the media

After voting yes alongside four of her colleagues earlier this month to approve safe outdoor spaces as a part of Albuquerque's annual zoning update, City Councilor Brook Bassan announced Wednesday morning that she intends to repeal the law legalizing sanctioned tent encampments. She will do so by introducing two separate bills at Wednesday night’s City Council Meeting.

Bassan said that while safe outdoor spaces is a step in the right direction, and has a proven track record in other cities, it is not what the citizens of Albuquerque are looking for.

“It is clear it is not what Albuquerque is looking for now, it requires more funding, more infrastructure, more planning, more oversight, more organization, and it is definitely something that will take more work.”

Public outcry over the prospective sites where these outdoor spaces would have been located has been growing since the council originally approved the zoning. With many who attended the last city council meeting using the public comment section to voice their concerns over the proximity of the camps to residential areas and the potential for crime. Another issue

Bassan said affects residents in Albuquerque is the enforcement of laws against those trespassing, overnight camping, loitering, and interfering with motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic. The city needs to empower the department in order to help enforce these laws According to Bassan.

“Building morale and allowing our officers to serve and protect I believe will go a long way in allowing them to do their jobs and increasing the enforcement that we have and the number and quantity of officers we have working on our streets today.”

One of the two pieces of legislation Bassan will introduce Wednesday night will remove all references to “Safe Outdoor Spaces” from the City’s Integrated Development Ordinance. The other piece of legislation will place a one year moratorium on the approval of any future safe outdoor spaces.

“I think that it’s really important that we take a step back and I am saying that although I thought this was a good idea and a step forward in the right direction, the city is making it very clear that this is not what they want.”

Gino Gutierrez was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A lifelong resident of New Mexico, Gino found interest in broadcasting after falling in love with sports and sports broadcasting. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he majored in mass media journalism. While at UNM, he worked the New Mexico Daily Lobo, serving as both sports and managing editor. He can also be heard providing play-by-play commentary for the Lobo Hockey Network.