You may recall back in May, the leader of Portland's biggest homeless protest in years, Art Rios, was arrested outside City Hall, for interfering with a police officer. You can watch footage of his arrest on Youtube. Rios faces trial next Monday, and potentially, a $6250 fine, without a lawyer. I caught up with Rios on Wednesday down at Sisters Of The Road Cafe, where we watched the arrest video again. As you can see, in the background, his attitude before being arrested was very aggressive. I mean...er...
When we spoke on Wednesday, Rios told me he had an attorney to represent him. But I called that attorney, and was told Rios hadn't supplied her with any details on his case since an earlier conversation back in May. As of now, she isn't his attorney, and, I guess, he needs one. So if you're interested, attorneys, you might like to try contacting Art at Sisters Of The Road on 503 222 5694, or failing that, me, on my cell: 503 502 2106.
Rios feels he was targeted for arrest because of his political speech, alleging that when he was taken to central precinct, following his arrest, he saw pictures of himself and three of the other protest organizers on the wall.
"As a leader of the activism, I feel like they're trying to target me for standing up to their unfair laws," he says.
Rios, who works 13 hours a week earning $13/hour as an on-call floor manager at Sisters, has housing through the office of Housing and Urban Development and is on food stamps. He estimates it would take him 43 weeks, paying all his wages, to pay off a $6250 fine.