News May 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm


Comparing this to the civil rights struggle is quite a stretch. Those activists weren't trying to gain the right to lie in the street and panhandle.
Pull over at the next rest stop. I need to do a freedom of expression.
Remember what I said yesterday, Matt?

Think I'm starting to come around.
@Jack Glad to hear it mate. We'll still have that coffee.
I can't believe that we need to go through this again. Is there anyway for the citizenry of portland to file some sort of collective harassment claim against the city for repeatedly trying to pass this dumb and illegal legislation. Every time it gets struck down, then they give it a superficial tweak and wait for higher courts to hand it back to them again. Why do we need this law? Has the city fallen into chaos and disarray after any of the times the courts have scrubbed it from the books?
Also, how is it that the city council has its hands tied so badly by the police department and are so deferential to the police union and its contract but they have all the will in the world to repeatedly try to enact this blatantly unconstitutional law?
one more thing. Amanda Fritz is an imbecile. I mean really, sitting vs. standing????
I really hope her naivete is affected because it is just pathetic. Not to mention the absurdity of the free speech distinction when this law is ostensibly honoring the ADA. Is she saying that only those capable of standing can exercise free speech in those areas? Sounds like an unreasonable exclusion to me
Well, now that the city fathers have not truly listened to use, let loose the dogs of reality. As I stated in Council hearing today, they didn't want this can of worms. I advise everyone to go to and familiarize themselves with the ADA Act. Under the Act, there can be NO exemptions to the act. Not commercial, not stationary objects like tables, chairs, planters or A-boards. Also, you yourself do not have to be handicapped to file a complaint under the Act. As an added bonus, you can recover monetary damages for each and every violation of the act. There will be a web site set up soon to facilitate and share info on how to file a complaint and to share info on complaints filed. Another poorly researched and poorly planned clusterf**k brought t you by inefficient council.
I've been against every iteration of sit/lie, primarily on the basis that it effectively denied a specific use, one that is protected constitutionally as a refuge of last resort.

However, this time I'd take the bet on Fish's
side as well (and he snookered you with the six
month timeframe; you'd barely get an injunction in six mo!). The major difference is that as Fritz points out, it is no longer illegal under this code to sit or lie on the sidewalk--you can, in designated areas. And IIRC, there's a time limit on the hours, so outside of those hours there are no proscriptions at all. All previous attempts blocked sitting/lying, period. This one relies on time and place considerations, which have always gotten broad leeway when it comes to managing 1st Amendment protections.

Why is this not like Arizona? That law has a vague standard for the ability to stop someone. This ordinance has crystal clear rules of what is and isn't OK. Is there room for abuse? Of course, but it's not the fault of the ordinance.

Feels odd to break with many allies on this one, but I think they finally came up with a version that can stand.
Monica Beemer, Excecutive Director of Sisters of The Road. "The good works we do does not justify doing something that goes against human rights. We must stop targeting homeless people, and I am proud of our community for always saying no to the violence of these laws."
Didn't Sisters of The Road use similar sidewalk designations last year???
When they were/are having all the trouble with groups overcrowding the sidewalk, and the whole needle poking a child thing.

They were chalking off parts of the sidewalk that denoted where people could sit, stand, smoke etc. to control the chaos that was happening on the sidewalk.
This ordinance is the EXACT same thing! It's such BS that Sisters is saying they can't support this "Violent" law when they did the exact same thing to try and control what happens on a sidewalk when people gather!

Get over it!
This is ridiculous. The fact that the council is wrapping the ordinance in this blanket of ADA compliance, and trying to shield themselves by saying, "look how much good we've already done!" is particularly disgusting.

Adams came off as condescending and rude. Fritz was cold, and particularly nasty.

I can't wait to vote against these people. And you can bet your sweet ass I'll be one of the first one's sitting and laying in protest in 6 months. I'm marking my calendar now actually. . .
Being a gutter punk in Portland in 2010 is just as hard as being a black person in the South in the 1950's. Not a ridiculous comparison in the least.
"Feels odd to break with many allies on this one..."

TJ, you break with your allies constantly. You're the most contrarian lefty in the metro area.

Also, you're wrong here. It's not about whether council can design an ordinance that successfully skirts the Constitution--it's whether they *should*.

What's the problem they're trying to solve with this law?

Blocked sidewalks? Bullshit. Downtown doesn't have a problem with blocked sidewalks, except by cafe tables and food carts.

"Managing competing needs for the sidewalks"? Bullshit. We've managed to do just fine doing that on our own.

Maybe it's the Oregonian's goal, ending "aggressive" panhandling? Triple bullshit. Whatever panhandling happens in downtown Portland is unavoidable for a city the size of Portland with a thriving downtown (and serious underfunding for mental health and drug treatment). And it's not even bad. I'm rarely spanged downtown (maybe because I don't look like a goddamn sucker).

The only thing left is that city council is bowing to the PBA's goal of sweeping the homeless under the rug. They don't think that downtown workers, business owners, and shoppers should be made comfortable by coming face to face with the downtrodden (or the unstable or the drug addicted). Can we agree that that is the only real goal here?

Is that an acceptable policy goal? Given council's lack of ability or willingness to fund needed additional services for the homeless, should we be just trying to sweep these people out of downtown?

I thought we elected progressives to city council. That's what they wanted us to believe when they were campaigning. Instead, we've gotten these pro-corporate assholes who are willing to bend over for the PBA at the expense of their souls.

Dammit now I'm agreeing with Blabby. Only a white guy could make this comparison. an out of touch white guy at that.
@Burn Cream Bottomly

Considering the rate of unemployment in Portland and the passage of Measures 66 and 67, which I'm reasonably certain all of our council members supported, calling them, "pro-corporate assholes," probably isn't incredibly accurate. Just ask Tim Boyle.
""pro-corporate assholes," probably isn't incredibly accurate.."

Then let's see some motherfucking evidence to the motherfucking contrary.
What really puzzles me is that people who are sitting or lying on the sidewalk are NOT "aggressive panhandlers".

How aggressive can you be when you don't even get up from a sitting position?

It seems as if this law will protect the most aggressive panhandlers, while leaving the cops to hassle the most innocuous ones. (Which is fine for the cops - they can beat them to death like they did to James Chasse for bringing his homeless stank to the Pearl.)

BTW, mandatory drug testing for cops in the new contract, including steroids. ESPECIALLY steroids.
@Blabby The only difference is a tall-bike and an anemic dog.
The people against this keep posting comments asking "Who wants this ordinance?" "Why is the city doing this?" and claiming it has no support. I guess they're ignoring all the comments here in favor of it? And all the commenters here complaining about the gutter punks downtown? And they think the people who *wrote* the ordinance are out of touch!
While I'm not sure that I agree with this ordinance I will say that downtown has become increasingly disgusting. I've worked Monday-Friday in downtown for over 5 years now and over the last year I've noticed an increasing amount of garbage and human fecies. On my runs during lunch I've had to reroute because of areas that were completely taken over by homeless people. The garbage and fecies is the worst. Walking down the sidewalk in downtown to pick up your lunch and seeing human waste on the sidewalk makes you not so hungry for lunch anymore. I cannot walk more than a few blocks ever without being asked for money. My walks to and from the bus are filled with homeless sleeping, etc. I'm not sure what the goal of this ordinance is, but I would like to see some efforts in making things cleaner downtown.
Want less homeless people, the answer is simple... convince the government to invest in more affordable housing. For the last 30 years we have destroyed our affordable housing stock as a nation.
a law like this is just a silly attempt at solving serious problems with a bandaid.


I am a 54-year-old woman who has sat and "slept" (if you can call it that) on the sidewalks of West Burnside Street in Portland, Oregon as recently as late February of this year. Yeah, those of you who actually come down that way might have seen me. I was the older blond woman quietly sitting in front of the red doors of the Downtown Chapel. And I believe that no one should be allowed to sit or sleep on a sidewalk ANYWHERE in the City of Portland. If the shelters are full and there's nowhere else to go then I believe that Portland should operate a "night-site." That's what is being done in some other cities around the Country. I know because I hitchhike all over the Country and I've stayed in more than one night-site during my travels. A night-site consists of restrooms, tables, chairs, a water fountain, the occasional sandwich, and security people in a room with lights on all night. There are set hours, rules, no storage and if you leave during the night, you don't get to go back in. Nobody, BTW, gets to loiter for two seconds outside the door, either. A large segment of the homeless population that hangs around Oldtown/Chinatown just want to lounge for all they're worth. They sit on blankets and make a mess from outside the Portland Rescue Mission all the way down past the Downtown Chapel. They also trash the area by Blanchette House and TPI. Late at night, these same people engage in chemical drug dealing, prostitution, stealing and acts of violence. And none of that activity should be tolerated in the City of Portland. But as long as the homeless people in that area are allowed to eat free meals, take free showers, obtain clean clothing and raise hell...the cycle is going to continue. I wish that the City of Portland would wise up and suspend all panhandling, loitering on blankets and "sleeping" on the sidewalks there. And open up a night-site.

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.