Portland's most refreshing homeless activism group Soapbox Under The Bridge spoke to 300 people camped out along the Rose Parade route last night, issuing fake anti-camping citations to draw attention to the laws. The city's anti-camping and sit/lie laws apply year-round in Portland, but are suspended for the Rose Parade. Here's the text of the fake citations:
Oregonian Citation and Compliant To Be Used Where Complaint Will Not Be Filed
In the City of Portland of the State of Oregon, the Following Person: ______________________________________/ ______/______/_______
YOUR NAME (LAST, FIRST, M.I.) D.O.B.
MARK ALL THAT APPLY:
□ On Public Property or on the Public Right of Way within the City of Portland, Oregon, and/or
□ On the Public Sidewalk in the Downtown Zone or Rose Quarter/Lloyd Zone in the above mentioned city and state:
□ Violated the Sit-Lie Ordinance by being on the public Sidewalk between 7 AM and 9 PM when prohibited by Portland City Code 14A.50.030, subject to a $250 fine pursuant to 14A.50.030 K.
□ Violated the Anti-Camping Ordinance by being on the Public Sidewalk between 9 PM and 7 AM when prohibited by Portland City Code 14A.50.020, subject to a
$100 fine, 30 days imprisonment or both pursuant to 14A.50.020 C.
□ Is exempt from the above mentioned Portland City Codes pursuant to Portland City Code 14A.55.010 C for not being a homeless person and for engaging in the above mentioned activities as a leisure activity and not one of necessity or emergency arising from lack of housing.
To learn more, please feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Then the back side of the cites:
* In the City of Portland, there are "Anti Camping" and "Sit Lie" laws. Between these two laws, Portland has set up a structure of criminalizing people based on housing status both day and night.
* Portland's city council has repeatedly said there is not enough low income housing for all of those in need, which makes having an Anti-Camping law patently unfair.
* Portland already has laws that require people to not block the sidewalk, which makes having a Sit/Lie law both redundant and by its use, nothing more than a scare tactic and a "move along" law.
*The Sit/Lie law (14A.50.030 ) also limits a person's freedom of speech by removing your ability to protest as an individual.
* The Sit/Lie law, technically "Sidewalk Obstructions", is not used against any other sidewalk obstructions besides human beings. It also is in the main used against homeless people. Of those tickets, over 90% have been homeless. This in a city where by the city's count about 1% of the population is homeless.
I describe Soapbox Under The Bridge as refreshing because as far as I can tell, the group isn't beholden to any funding sources. Which means it can actually speak up for homeless people without worrying what that might do for their donation stream. In 2009, you'd think that wouldn't be such a pervasive problem, but as far as I can see, it's about time more scrutiny was paid to nonprofits in this town supposedly speaking up for the homeless. What are their stated positions? Who are they tight with? Who are their major donors? Why are they sitting at a table talking nice with the Portland Business Alliance? You get the idea. I'd like to think hypocrisy might be bad for donations, too.