May 4th, 2010 5:33 pm | by Peter Griffin News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, CLEAN UP

Sidewalk Plan Returns to Council This Thursday. So Will The Plan's Opponents.

Sister of the Road March

Sisters of the Road organizers are gearing up to give the City Council another earful this week on the proposed sidewalk management plan [PDF].

The plan comes up again this Thursday at 3 pm at City Council, which last week delayed a vote on the plan to review whether it would limit free speech. Here's what Sisters wants its supporters to do between now and Thursday:

1) Contact Commissioners Leonard and Fritz and thank them for postponing the vote last week and raising concerns that the Sidewalk Management Ordinance will limit freedom of speech and continue to criminalize people who have no where else to be but the sidewalks. Ask them to vote no on the Sidewalk Management Plan this Thursday and to continue to work towards community solutions - like homes and healthcare!

2) Join us again on Thursday, May 6th at 3pm (2:30pm if you want to sign up to testify) at City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave, to say no to classism in our laws and yes to healthy communities! Last week we packed the main chambers with concerned community members and our voice was strong. This week we will need to fill both the main chamber and the balcony with people willing to stand up for dignity and freedom of speech for all!

Last Thursday, we won the attention of City Hall and all of Portland with a celebratory parade and march through downtown stating that sidewalks are for everyone- no matter what socioeconomic status! We packed City Hall Council chambers with over 50 customers, staff, volunteers and other allies and supporters. The testimony we delivered was especially powerful in that it came largely from those experiencing homelessness and extreme poverty and the disability rights community. Both groups gave a resounding call for the Commission to vote no on the Sidewalk Management Ordinance. After hearing our testimony, the Commissioners decided to postpone the actual vote until this next Thursday, May 6 at 3 pm to consider the feedback from experts that this ordinance would limit freedom of speech and expression.

We will continue to push against this ordinance until the City understands that band aid laws like this only hurt our communities by marginalizing and targeting people who are poor. We would all be safer and healthier if we spent our resources on ensuring that everyone in Portland has their basic needs met! We could be spending this time organizing for community solutions that include decent, affordable public housing, health care for all and treatment on demand.
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