Blogs Aug 21, 2008 at 3:05 pm


Mr. Paugh:

As you may remember, it is the stated policy of the Portland Police to not enforce any law or ordinance they find "inconvenient." The only reasonable conclusion concerning said boxes is that the city has a blanket policy concerning inconvenient ordinances.

I think it is fair to say that if hizzoner de mayor and his gang of four and their minions in city government can make money on it, they'll enforce it. As with prostitution in the neighborhoods, they only respond when enough citizens complain.

Don't expect an answer. Or, at least, one you like.

I remain your humble servant,

Oh Jacomus... Please go do our dishes.

I'm your local Portland Mercury Director of Circulation. That's a fancy way to say I'm the head paperboy.

If there's a box on the street, I maintain it, and I've perhaps put it there.

Regarding the Safeway box lineup, I feel the gentleman is mistaken. There are two clusters of boxes each with roughly 6 boxes in each cluster. One cluster is close to a taxi-cab parking spot, the other cluster is close to the corner and does not block any parking or access to the building or it's entrance. I can assure Mr. Man that if there was a right of way issue, we'd know about it and have dealt with it.

On a regular basis we maintain our boxes by simply checking in on them. Are they gnarly, grody, cool, semi-cool, or totally cool? I have a recent list. I can tell you! Besides myself, we employ a person to regularly clean our boxes.

Our goal is to totally keep them cool or at least semi-cool. We have a few that notoriously house old chinese food, beer, fire, clothing, and the occasional wind up toy shaped like genitalia. If I find the box in any way shape or form to be a health hazard, I remove it immediately and replace it with a shiny new(ly cleaned) box to ensure you don't get your hand in a rotting pile of old noodles.

Regarding rats and bombs... Dude. Seriously? Rats and bombs? I believe the kids are using the word "lol" to describe how I feel at this moment.

The way I see it, people deserve access to news. Also, we live in a city. Newspaper boxes are part of a city. People do drugs. People litter. Or as my friend Mike would say, "shit gets fucked up". There's nothing you can do to stop that. It's kind of the like the guns don't kill people, people kill people argument sure. Regardless, we do our best to clean up our mess should there be one.

The best part of my job is knowing I'm helping spread news all over our city. I'm a huge fan of the first amendment and I love being part of the machine that gets you your news Portland! And your 785th I saw U about someone on a fixed gear bike!

PS: I'm on call 24/7 to deal with litter issues and unfortunately, I've had to get out of bed at 1am to deal with turned over boxes and messy papers. I take this part of my job very serious. I think we owe it to the community to do our best to keep our papers off the street and keep them in peoples hands.

PPS: Charles? Stop drinking so much haterade.
Having read both sides, I agree with Senor Chico de Papel.

I like the availability of the Mercury and other papers distributed by these boxes. I think it's a great way to get something out to the public, whether it's some special interest based newspaper/ad circular, or other cultural pieces such as this paper.

If Mr. Paugh wants a litter free utopian living environment, I'd recommend he find his way to a fancy-pants gated community.

Senor Papel, I appreciate your efforts to deliver me a quality news-ish type newspaper thing. I like it!
"By not licensing and regulating these newspaper boxes as most other cities do around the country, the city is loosing out on revenue that would be generating through fees paid by vending box owners."

I'm just confused as why someone who spent so much time writing such a detailed letter wouldn't proof read it better before mailing it to Mayor Tom Potter. I guess spell check doesn't pick up on forming sentences using the correct tense.
Charles Paugh is a douchebag and shouldn't be taken seriously by anyone.
Oh shit, I thought his letter was a joke. It's so funny!
One other thing,

If there was a single box chained to either a tree or a Tri Met shelter, they'd be on the bottom of the Willamette by now.

Tri Met does not play that nor does the city. I don't either. If the city or Tri Met calls me and says hey, there's a problem, it gets taken care of immediately.

I was head paperboy for a loooooong time at the Mercury, preceding the able-bodied Lord Chico de Papel.

Every couple of years some bored-stiff fuckwit bandies about the assertion that newspaper boxes are a detriment to the city, yadda yadda....I wonder if these are the selfsame supporters of the radical homogenization that has effaced such former beautiful grit-havers such as Seattle and San Francisco. Yes! What a great idea! Let's turn the entire character-lined visage of Lady Portland into a fully-douched wonderland of rubbed-raw squeaking smoked glass! Portland = Meg Ryan's most recent vaginoplasty!

Be afraid. Other cities have adopted "media centers". These are metal edifices with limited space only available to PAYING customers thereby eliminating that pesky "freedom of press".

There are many places to hide bombs and dump raw chickenshit, none of which are as well-maintained as a purposefully-seasoned Mercury paper box. The box-hating dullards only wish they had a man in a white van to scrub and scrape some of the more personal bomb-hiding enclaves available to a person of bomb-placing proclivity.

Box-haters bugger off!

Hang in there Lord Chico! This flaccid appeal to the lamest duck in town will die, only to be reborn 6-18 months from now, dragging itself from a perfectly reticent grave while you're busy doing more important things--like shoveling hippie dung out one of the boxes on Hawthorne. Hey, at least it's organic!

Let's not forget that it is in fact illegal for newspaper boxes to be chained to city property in Portland per City Code 17.64.040 "Use of City Poles or Posts." Yet, we do see these boxes, Portland Mercury included, chained to city property all over Portland. If these boxes are Charles' pet peeve, then more power to him. It always takes an extremest to negotiate the middle ground by which we all live. Instead of making fun of him, maybe you guys should be petitioning the city to change the city ordinances to permit newspaper racks around town to be chained to city property. I noticed driving home today that there is a Portland Tribune box chained to a tree RIGHT NEXT to city hall on the southside of city hall. The city really does ignore this ordinance.
I've been out of town and not had ready access to the computer to respond to the Portland Mercury printing my letter.

Lord Chico de Papel, you are incorrect, there are 14 boxes in a row with no gap between them located at SW 10th and SW Jefferson:


I am not against the placement of newsracks on sidewalks as long as they are placed there legally. Chaining them to city property is illegal. Not removing graffiti from them within 10 days per city code is illegal. Blocking any portion of the sidewalk to foot traffic for more than 2 hours is illegal. I would just like to see the city of Portland pass regulations specifically addressing the placement of newsracks so that we are all on the same page.

Please wait...

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