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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Char-Lie would change sit-lie

At least that's what his campaign manager is telling our reader who wrote him to complain about the thugs roaming the streets of downtown Portland with their pitbulls:

Thank you so much for reaching out to the campaign and bringing up this issue. It is a huge problem, and certainly one of the firsts things we hear from people visiting Portland. Be assured that as Mayor, Charlie will work to make change. First, the current sit-lie ordinance needs to be revamped to help make our sidewalks usable and friendly, while not violating the constitution.

Charlie believes that at the same time, there needs to be more funding from the legislature and the private sector that goes into efforts to prevent and help homelessness at the roots. We have incredible non-profits like New Avenues for Youth working on homelessness and mental health issues, but they can only do so much with the funding they have. Places like the new Bud Clark Commons are a great start - daybeds, showers, lockers. Charlie wants more of those services. Places like the Q Center, which is understaffed, underfunded and yet still do amazing work to provide counseling to our LGBTQ youth and helps to get them off the street. Charlie believes funding for this work has to be included in our funding requests in Salem and he'll lead the charge.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Evyn Mitchel
Campaign Manager
Charlie Hales for Mayor

The part about running to Salem is a real cop-out. More showers and daybeds aren't going to help cut down the number of vicious street punks. And when Char-Lie decides he doesn't really want to change sit-lie, he'll dismiss this message as another mistake by one of his staff members that he knew nothing about. But at least somebody from his camp, one day, said "the current sit-lie ordinance needs to be revamped." It's something.

Comments (20)

There's a tremendous disconnect between his response, which assumes that the people causing trouble WANT to get the kind of help that New Avenues offers, and the reader's complaint, which is talking specifically about the punk "homeless" kids who just want to collect spare change and cause trouble.

Dave J

I noticed that as well. Typical politician speak, rather than answer the question presented spin it into some banal generalities. I hate too say it, but it is going to take someone getting hurt or worse by one of these punks or their dogs for the city to do anything.

I would echo the observation that he the issue of the street punks.

I thought everytime the city tried to do something about sit-lie it got challenged in court?

Charlie believes... Charlie wants... Even though signed by someone else why did the "Jimmy" episode of Seinfeld pop into my head?

So - to solve the problem created - in part - by offering more "daybeds, showers, lockers - Charlie wants more of those services"

As the parks service says
'Don't feed the bears - they will become dependent and lose their ability to ensure their own survival'

If the Oregon constitution is what defeats sit-lie, then we need to amend it. I haven't heard anyone say that the federal constitution is the problem. I doubt Charlie is going to do anything about Portland's street punk problem.


Color me curious, being a simple man and all.
How can it not be illegal to sit/lie on a side-WALK ?
You certainly cannot park (sit/lie) your vehicle in the middle of the road so why is this any different ?

How can it not be illegal to sit/lie on a side-WALK ?

Well, for starters, because certain people (restaurant patrons, for example) CAN sit on the sidewalk. And so if the law is unequally applied to one group and not to another, it runs afoul of the Constitution.


From the start: "Thank you so much for reaching out to the campaign and bringing up this issue."

Pathetic how people have learned to speak in these fatuously overwrought phony ways.

Dave J, well, technically a restaurant pays a fee, gets a license to allow patrons to sit on the sidewalk. The answer to make it equal is to require squatters on sidewalks to pay a fee, get a license.

Aggressive behavior is already punishable, and upheld by the Constitution. Let's make things "equal" and have Amanda work on it.

What's Charlie going to bring to sit-lie that hasn't already been brought by others? All the lawyers and politicians have tried to rework this several times.

You simply cannot constitutionally prohibit asking for money and using the sidewalk without blocking it. There are already laws on the books for aggressive panhandling, unlicensed animals, harassment, intimidation, public intoxication and obstructing peoples' paths.

I live and work downtown and most of the dogs I see with these people are not aggressive but just as lazy as the humans.

I would suggest that the canvassers that block corners to raise money for non-profits are more obstructive than 90 percent of the sparechangers, even though they are fresh-faced, smiling and reaching out to shake your hand.

I think the lady who wrote the original letter to Hales might be more comfortable shopping in places like The Streets of Tanasbourne where the seedy underbelly of America is kept at bay and there is plenty of free parking.

I know that the term "privatization" usually scares people in Portland, but perhaps the solution to the "sit-lie" problem is to experiment with turning some downtown streets (or at least sidewalks) over to adjacent property owners.

Private spaces offer almost all of the benefits of public ownership without a lot of the downsides. For example, one can wander through Lloyd Center Mall or Pioneer Place for hours, buying nothing, using their rest rooms, at no cost and with a high level of personal security. It's all privately owned, but anyone from the public can use it -- within limits. Aggressive panhandling and threatening behavior will not be tolerated.

So if your teenage daughter wants to go downtown with friends for a few hours on a Friday night and says she's considering two possible destinations -- a private mall or a public street, what's your preference?

It might be worth trying, on a small scale, to learn something.

John Charles:

How do you privatize the public right-of-way, such as a sidewalk?

Regarding sit/lie:

Sit/lie can and should be challenged. It's just a judge's interpretation from what I know.

I mentioned in the last article about this that businesses and residences in the Haight neighborhood of San Francisco -- yeah acid-droppin' doobie smokin' Haight/Ashbury -- spurred a city-wide vote that passed a sit/lie ordinance.

Nothing much has changed there, it's SF afterall, but even the most tolerant people understand the difference between a mentally ill person who's homeless and talking to himself who never panhandles versus aggressive pitbull-owning-youth turning the sidewalk into their personal residence asking for change and harming businesses and city life which helps fund social services.

I'm still waiting for the day for non-profits like Central City Concern has people on corners interrupting panhandlers and getting money into their organization which can help people on the margins.

The CCC's CHIERS program is dropping some of its hours because of lack of funding, and people are stupidly giving money to panhandlers.

The money's not going where it should and something needs to be done.

It doesn't take a mayor or city council to with "balls," it really just comes down to common sense.

"Be assured that as Mayor, Charlie will work to make change."

Sidebar - Just as a preview, to quote WWeek:

"Mayoral candidate Charlie Hales was awash in money from developers during the May primary race—almost one-quarter of his cash came from development- and real estate-related donors."

I'd expect our tax money to be spent in the same ratio. Screw the schools and potholes.

Not bad, we've gone from Vera to Sam to Charlie. Ain't no stoppin' us now.

More money for beds and showers? So the thugs can stick around longer? There is a saying that you will get more of whatever you spend your money on in government. Sounds heartless maybe, but giving away services to homeless without any requirement that they work for it is pure insanity and will increase the homeless population, not get rid of it. Are polititions just stupid, or is everyone afraid of using common sensenbecause they can't get elected that way in Portland?

Woe is Portland. And woe is any community linked to it by streetcar or light rail.

WS: "How do you privatize the public right of way?"

Answer: Any number of ways. One would be turn over the property to private landowners, but require them to maintain sidewalks (which would be in their best interest anyway). Another could be to maintain public ownership but authorize private management. I'm sure there could be other variations on the theme if Portland officials were interesting in solving the tragedy of the commons associated with downtown sidewalks.

Timberline Lodge has been privately run for over 50 years, for very good reasons. Public ownership and operation failed.

Dear Reader:

Regarding your comment: "I think the lady who wrote the original letter to Hales might be more comfortable shopping in places like The Streets of Tanasbourne where the seedy underbelly of America is kept at bay and there is plenty of free parking."

Really? I raise legitimate concerns (that almost all of the commenters agree with) regarding the real and legitimate problem of street thugs/aggressive panhandlers and how it is affecting downtown Portland and you somehow decide that this means I'm a bridge and tunnel suburban soccer mom?

My job requires me to spend a significant amount time in Oregon Jails and Prisons. I live in the city. I won't bore you with my additional "street cred" but I will say that you're an idiot.

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