- Photographs by Denis C. Theriault
- A warning.
Sergeant Pete Simpson, a police bureau spokesman, sent the following list to reporters about an hour ago:
Downtown: 2 arrests
-Offensive littering/false info/warrant(FTA theft3)
NW 16/Johnson: 1 arrest
SE side: 2 arrests
-Camping/IPO/illegal structure (SE Water/Morrison)
-Discon/attempt PCS meth (Esplanade area)
Update 5 PM: Simpson says six warnings also were given out today but that he didn't know how many warnings had been given out over the past several days as part of the lead-up to this push.///
The two arrests listed as downtown appear to be from Chapman Square and match reports from campers. But after making that first pass through Chapman around 8 this morning, making arrests, a group of eight or so officers and sergeants returned a bit before 3 pm to issue a handful more warnings.
Cops also are posting notices about illegal use of sidewalk provided by the Bureau of Transportation and signed by Transportation Director Leah Treat. That's similar to a declaration of an illegal campsite, cops and officials say, except it's part of the sidewalk ordinance, not the camping ordinance. It gives as little as 24 hours of notice instead of the seven days provided by the camping ordinance. But either way, cops and officials say, confiscated property will be cataloged and kept for 60 days. Cops also stress the point that they generally don't bother people camping in small groups, without a lot of stuff—unlike at the targeted locations.
(WW is reporting that the Oregon Department of Transportation has posted some no-camping notices today. ODOT frequently hands those out.)
Hales' office has been leading the sidewalks push and he's also been the most visible city commissioner on homelessness. While devising a plan to clean the sidewalks outside city hall, he's simultaneously been meeting with the Portland Business Alliance, the cops, and a smattering of social services providers to talk about homelessness. Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman hasn't been visible in either process.
(Haynes says, for the record, that the sidewalks push was not discussed during those meetings. "No," he told me. "Those meetings were about crafting short-, medium- and long-range solutions to the homelessness issue. And about asking advocates and activists: What’s been tried before? What hasn’t worked? What advice to you have?")
But because Hales doesn't run PBOT, he needed to get buy-in from Commissioner Steve Novick to have the sidewalk notices posted.
"People can't use the public sidewalk as their personal property," says Novick, a major supporter of safety net funding in the last budget, who also added, "I don't think the existence of homelessness" was justification enough for the size and mess created by the city hall protest camp.