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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 22, 2011 3:45 PM. The previous post in this blog was End is nigh for Portland reservoirs. The next post in this blog is Cop union says Portland's new 911 computer system stinks. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

City Council to normal mom: Beat it

This story speaks volumes about the people running Portland. They take a rule that was designed to make downtown more livable and use it to chase out someone whose presence added to livability. And without apology -- just the rude arrogance so common in the bizarre fun house known as City Hall. The politicians can be as mean as the cops, and that's saying something. The voters of this town deserve the bankruptcy that they are gradually getting.

Comments (38)

They might as well post signs asking the non-addicted or non-pierced to simply avoid downtown with this kind of publicity.

Given that she was waiting for MAX, I'm surprised they didn't give her a pass. Lord knows they do nothing to roust the hordes of street urchins who hang out at PCH Square.

Anyone remember when this used to be a great town?

Any bets it was Lee Perlman who clapped.

You can ride a bike all over town butt-naked (with full police escort) but don't you dare think you can rest a minute after a long morning spending time with your kid.

Her mistake wasn't in not having a tape measure along. It was that she didn't have the requisite cardboard begging sign ("Anything helps God bless"). And she had a child instead of a dog.

Re: "livable"

In his State-of-the-City address this year, the divisive, alleged mayor -- who could have been heard today expounding upon the City's grand economic future for a gullible BBC newsreader -- defined "livable" as having a grocery store nearby -- without considering, for example, how unlivable it is to have a grocery store in great proximity.

The elected Gang of Five -- what an expensive, unresponsive, degraded form of governance! -- has a limited comprehension of "livable," perhaps from circumscribed experience with what is "livable" for most people but more likely from arrogant disregard of how abusive their limited comprehension of "livable" has been to the residents of this city.

Thanks, Ms Vaughan, for the effort. At least you were able to spend some time in the appealing Council Chamber. Too bad it had to be with a Gang that has so debased it.

Yes, Kent we do.

It was when the town was tough and gritty, but because people actually worked.

It was when the streets were safe to drive and cycle on without sliding into a streetcar.

There were dives and characters because of that tough, individualistic grittyness, not smug, contrivances, dwelling amid identical steel and reclaimed wood boxes to agree on their hive mindset.

When the city entrusted the police to keep streets safe instead of attacking and suing them at every turn.

When the corruption and disdain was done in dark smoky backrooms instead of out in the open every day.

When individuals would lend a hand up to the odd drifter, instead of wasting millions of public dollars to bring in more leeches, junkies and blight.

As someone who has testified before the City Council I can say the responses they give are often cold and almost robotic in nature.

I usually applaud your rants, but I don't get this one. Are you arguing that the city should make laws that are specific to homeless people only? How would such a law be crafted?

I'm not sure a "normal mom" would waste her day at city hall whining that a cop told her to move.

Gardiner - Was that prechance a typo? I could swear you meant to type appalling Council Chamber. With this bunch of clowns, it's not appealing, it's appalling.

He was then chided by the mayor. "You know there's no clapping," Adams told him. "No clapping, no sitting," the man responded. "It's called dictatorship!"

A Dictator is feared.

Mayor Adams is either laughed at or ignored, ridiculed or scoffed at. He is an admitted liar, an obvious incompetent buffoon, but not a Dictator by any stretch.

The foolish mom needs to find another city to bring her child. She can come back and be welcomed with open arms when she is a drunk, homeless beggar. What WAS she thinking?

I think the news story messed up the facts. The wall in question is federal property, and has federal (not city) signs that tell people not to sit on it, because it's very old. So when a Portland police officer told her not to sit on the wall, the officer was enforcing federal, not city, regulations. As the City Council supported the officer, that implies that the Council will encourage and applaud city officers who enforce other federal laws and regulations, e.g., the immigration and marijuana laws.

So the cops in Portland are really busy telling respectable people not to sit on the walls, meanwhile the auto theft rate in the city is up and Portland ranks 65th in the nation for auto thefts up from 77th last year. What a great use of limited resources.
Never mind that all the punk kids, drunks, homeless and assorted other non contributing citizens are treated to a new multi million dollar "Bum Hilton" just blocks away; respectable people beware, YOU are the enemy now.
No wonder the down town businesses that are left are struggling. Who the hell whats to be any where near down town...and yes that includes the Pearl, which is looking a little worn and pitted these days.

I'm pretty sure that when Mayor Adams agrees with something he loads the Council Chambers with his supporters who scream, yell, clap, applaud - whatever.

When it's someone or something he is opposed to...well, it's a whole other story.

Welcome to Portlandia. My way, or the railway.

I don't think PPB officers are empowered to enforce Federal "no trespassing" signs. At least that's the excuse they offer when asked why they can't ask if you're an American Citizen or not.

Another compelling reason never to attend that pathetic non-event, the Rose Festival.

Yesterday there was a drive-by shooting on my street. My kid and his friend were playing in the front yard and heard the shots. ("It didn't sound like my cap-gun at all. It was more like a 'boom' sound,"
he reported to me after I got home from work.)

And we should pay our public servants to growl at productive citizens with sleeping babies about where they sit in public?

Time to seriously think about hitting the road, Jack. (Not you, Jack. The other Jack, the one in the song).

Jack - You seem to be fine with the law as long as it is being applied only to street people (and thereby making Portland "liveable"). When the law is applied to a "normal" person, you are outraged, or at least unhappy? Do you really want the law applied unevenly? Only the homeless get rousted while us good middle-class folk are left alone? Is it a just and good law if it is only applied to people with whom you don't approve?

Portland Native - you do realize that many of those "un-productive" homeless are veterans. That they have mental illnesses - quite likely a result of their service. Many of those youth come from abusive homes - conditions that I don't even want to try and imagine.

I am dismayed by those on here who take the opportunity to bash those who are, by and large, defenseless; who have little or nothing. I'm sorry that you want to further penalize these people - make their lives more miserable. I am sorry that their presence makes you uncomfortable and makes jolts you out of your complacency that everything is good and right in this country. I'm sorry that so many you feel anger at having to make room for people that aren't "normal".

"This ordinance shows a lack of integrity," Vaughan said of Portland's sidewalk restrictions known as sit-lie.

A lack of integrity? Why, because it is enforced against "normal" people and not just the homeless? It would be lacking in integrity if it weren't.

The ordinance? Put a flipped bird on it.

At least the gang of five didn't gavel her down:


Do you really want the law applied unevenly?

Yes. When there's a mother with her child in a stroller sitting there waiting for a bus, I want her left alone.

When some dirty, reeking punk with a pit bull and a rap sheet as long as your arm is sitting there hassling people, I want his stinking a*s moved along.

It's called discretion. Police use it every minute they're on the clock. I want it used wisely. And when they don't, I want the politicians to show some affinity to the normal people.

Sit-lie is a gross violation of basic civil rights and stinks whoever it is enforced on. I'm glad this lady took the time to go down and let them hear about it.

Dear 3H,
I realize that most of the homeless, punk kids and all the rest of those folks have serious problems, some of them not of their own making.
The veterans who were sent overseas to fight these useless wars are not being taken care of as they should be. Write your congressional delegation but don't hassle me for not being able to deal with these people.
What is really "unfortunate" is that the services these folks need are not available because among other things, in the USA we are spending money on 2 worthless and stupid wars, toy trains, enriching developers, 911 systems that do not work, and covering reservoirs.
The uber rich are getting richer, the average Joe is poorer.
And everything that Jack posted....
As for that kid with the pit bull and the rap sheet, who hassles everyone, that individual is hardly defenseless!
It is I who am defenseless against people like that.

The cop should have smiled and tipped his hat. Then moved on to some human debris.

Which is exactly what he would have done if it were a friend or relative of his or without some asinine policy.

If was any friend of any city councilor they would be outraged and reviewing the policy to allow discretion.

The idea that a cop can't distinguish beteeeen a crack head and a mom with baby is pathetic.

Worse yet are the comments at the O story
from people who can't see the difference either.

May they too be victimized by an absurd application of city code.

This is why I don't ever go downtown anymore and crap like this contributed to me moving entirely out of Oregon and over to The Couv.

Lived there 41 years. I remember when Portland was a good place to live....hasn't been for a long time.

'A lack of integrity? Why, because it is enforced against "normal" people and not just the homeless? It would be lacking in integrity if it weren't.'

NO....because it ISN'T enforced against the homeless but only against the normal people.

When some dirty, reeking punk with a pit bull and a rap sheet as long as your arm is sitting there hassling people, I want his stinking a*s moved along.

The sit-lie rule is unconstitutional on its face and will be overturned (again) as soon as someone takes it to court (again).

The way to deal with aggressive people downtown is to cite them for harassment or any number of other offenses that do not require the First Amendment of the Constitution to be tossed in the gutter.

Being "dirty", "reeking", owning a pit bull and sitting are not criminal acts. Having a rap sheet is not a criminal act if those raps have been dealt with in the legal system.

Hassling people MAY be a criminal act, under certain circumstances, and people should be arrested or cited when they break the law, not for looking poor or dirty or otherwise offensive to certain observers.

A better way for the cop to have handled this situation would have been for him to say something like, "You know the wall in front of this courthouse is over 100 years old and we try to keep people from sitting on it so that it can be preserved. If you go right across the street to Pioneer Square, you can sit and relax as long as you like. Have a nice day."

So this happened at the Pioneer Square Courthouse? Last time I checked the U.S. Marshals and Federal Police do not even enforce the rules that prohibit people from sitting against or on the barrier outside the courthouse.

Why is a Portland Police officer enforcing a federal law that is outside of their jurisdiction.

I don't think PPB officers are empowered to enforce Federal "no trespassing" signs. At least that's the excuse they offer when asked why they can't ask if you're an American Citizen or not.

That particular question has nothing to do with enforcing federal anything. We have a state law that forbids them from asking about your citizenship status.

There's an ordinance against lying on downtown Portland sidewalks? People can be cited for it?

That being the case, then why haven't our elected officials and city employees been cited multiple times? They lie on Portland sidewalks all the residents, visitors, journalists...even television interviewers.

O...Ben? I'll bet that it was at Pioneer Courthouse Square. It's a _CITY_ park directly to the west of the federal property. That's why a city cop was enforcing it.

If it was the federal court house, then it is federal property, with tiny little nearly illegible signs that say one is not to sit on the little short wall around the building. (The wall under the spiked steel fence that I think one is also not supposed to lean against.) I was tired and waiting for the Max one night when one of the rent-a-cops told me to move. I doubt it was a Portland Police Officer, because, really, how often does one see a PPB officer walking on the streets in downtown Portland?

Jack -

Discretion has always worked very well for people like you or me - middle class, white, citizens. However, it has never historically worked very well for minorities and sub-cultures.

What if your "punk" is just sitting there, pit-bull and all, not bothering anyone? Does the rap sheet a mile long really matter if they're not committing a crime? What if it's just some poor, dirty, old person. Should the both be asked to move along -- even if they aren't hassling anyone? Fact is, you don't even know if that woman is "normal" (whatever that means). All you know is that she looks normal too you.

You pick the worst possible scenario; the extreme members of that group, and then lump them all together. Perhaps all lawyers should be judged by the scum of your profession that represent the Tobacco industry, or organized crime figures. Why would I want a lawyer in my neighborhood? They protect people that visit untold misery and death on the people of this country.

Portland native -
You're right, they should do more for those people. In the meantime, I don't think hiding them is going to do any good. Just the opposite - out of sight, out of mind. There will be no push to provide better services if we don't even have to acknowledge that they are out there. As for hassling you -- If you say something I disagree with, or find your statements overly broad and unfair, I am going to "hassle" you. If you don't want to be held accountable for the things you say, then by all means don't post on a public blog.

I have one final idea for the "blue boxes" and limiting panhandling after 7:00.

1) After 7:00 p.m. no one can talk to anyone else, unless they are in your party, or you already know them. Not recognize them, but have had at least 4 hours of conversation with them.

2) Lets have blue boxes for pan-handling, red boxes for asking directions, and yellow boxes for people who want to know the time. Outside of those boxes, talking to people you don't know should be discouraged.

You seem to know it all, son. Good luck with your high ideals. In a city with a dead downtown.

Thanks, but I don't know it all. I just have strong opinions on certain topics; thought that was something you could understand. I guess not. My apologies for cluttering up your blog with contrary opinions.

Perhaps some day you'll realize just how lucky you are, and find the time for a little compassion for those that haven't been.

"I have one final idea for the 'blue boxes' and limiting panhandling after 7:00.

1) After 7:00 p.m. no one can talk to anyone else, unless they are in your party, or you already know them. Not recognize them, but have had at least 4 hours of conversation with them.

2) Lets have blue boxes for pan-handling, red boxes for asking directions, and yellow boxes for people who want to know the time. Outside of those boxes, talking to people you don't know should be discouraged."

Although you've asserted that people "should be discouraged" from disobeying your proposed rules for urban interaction, you have offered no formal system of enforcement. In particular, no fines or other disincentives against disobedience. Too burdensome to potential enforcers? Too onerous to potential targets of such enforcement?

Why not propose another of the City's avenues of revenue enhancement: licenses to walk or sit upon city sidewalks; licenses to engage in conversation, including via cellphones, on city sidewalks; licenses for eye contact, smiling, and all other forms of non-lexical communication?

You may have brought to the surface once again recognition of one of this City's great failings: it's absence of anyone who knows much about how the majority of human beings actually interact. The residents of this city would benefit greatly from the employment of ethnographers in lieu of planners and lawyers.

Just set up some meters. Pay your money for how much time you're going to spend in your "speech box" and slap the receipt on your forehead so it can checked by the parking patrol.

Now that is funny 3H!...
Maybe Randy and Sam will take you ideas and try to implement them. The city council is just nutty enough to try.


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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
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Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
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Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
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Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
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Anthony Holden - Big Deal
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Road Work

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At this date last year: 155
Total run in 2016: 155
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In 2013: 257
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