Sit, Lie, Protest
Homeless rights activists plan to stage a protest in Waterfront Park against the mayor's upcoming Sit-Lie Ordinance, on March 14 at 2:30 pm. The mayor's Street Access for Everyone (SAFE) committee has signed off on the ordinance—which would make it illegal to sit or lie on the sidewalk downtown—in exchange for public benches and more shelter beds. The law won't be finalized until the city council votes later this month. Meanwhile, organizers of the protest say there aren't enough shelter beds, which means many homeless are "forced to sleep under bridges where they are brutalized in their sleep or arrested and brutalized by police and/or Portland Business Alliance-funded Clean and Safe [security officers]" according to the protest flyer. The mayor's office did not return a call for comment. MATT DAVIS
Brake-ing the Law
After losing four fixed-gear bicyclists' appeals in traffic court last year—the cyclists were ticketed for a lack of brakes ["Fixed," News, Nov 9]—bike attorney Mark Ginsberg has taken his fight for Portland's fixie riders to Salem. Fixie riders say they don't need a hand brake to stop safely—they can stop with their leg power—but the law is unclear, and Portland's fixie riders continue to face $70 fines for riding without the extra brake attached. Enter Senate Bill 729, sponsored by Republican Senator Jason Atkinson of Grants Pass—Atkinson happens to ride a fixie—which will clarify Oregon's existing 1975 bicycle brake law so that fixed-gear bicycles do not require an additional brake. "We're just updating the law to reflect modern bicycle use," says Ginsberg. MD
Charter Reform Foe
Last week, Mayor Tom Potter's "strong mayor" effort got another high profile foe—Tom Chamberlain, the president of Oregon AFL-CIO.
Chamberlain is the director of a committee called Portlanders for Accountability, which was formed to fight this May's form-of-government ballot measure, bringing the number of opposition campaigns to two.
"I'm on the committee as an individual citizen, not through the AFL-CIO," Chamberlain says. "But I can say, based on anecdotal conversations with union members and citizens, that this is a very unpopular ballot measure. The whole flavor of this is consolidation of power."
Chamberlain was mum about who else was on the committee, or who approached him to join. SCOTT MOORE