April 29th, 2010 5:33 pm | by Peter Griffin News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, City Hall, Politics

City Council Postpones Vote On New Sidewalk Rules; Opponents Continue Protests

Sister of the Road March
As promised, Sisters of the Road led a "sidewalk parade" through downtown Portland this afternoon to protest the sidewalk management plan proposed by Mayor Sam Adams. The 30-person march began in Old Town at Sisters of the Road Cafe, the source of several vocal opponents of the mayor's plan. It ended at City Hall, where City Council held a public meeting to review the emergency ordinance behind the sidewalk plan.

Protesters carried signs that said, "Right to Sleep, Sit, Shelter" and "Sidewalks are 4 everyone." They chanted a familiar refrain: "Who's sidewalk? Our sidewalk!"

The ordinance under consideration this afternoon -- the latest incarnation of Portland's unconstitutional sit-lie ordinance -- would affect only parts of downtown, the Lloyd District and the Rose Quarter, and, if approved next week, would create "pedestrian use zones." Within those zones from the hours of 7 am to 9 pm, passersby would have to be on foot or otherwise be able to move immediately. (There are exceptions for standing in lines, participating in rallies or performing street music, assuming musicians have any necessary permits. It does nothing to end aggressive canvassing.)

Leading up to today's hearing, some advocates for the homeless, including advocates from Sisters of the Road, expressed concern about the ordinance's emergency status. Had commissioners voted on the measure today as expected, it would have gone into effect immediately. But questions remain about the plan's oversight, according to what Chani Geigle-Teller, a community organizer with Sisters of the Road, told WW earlier this week. A new provision appeared in the latest version of the ordinance that directs Commissioner Amanda Fritz's "Sharing Public Sidewalks Advisory Committee" to monitor implementation and enforcement of the new sidewalk rules. But that advisory committee does not have teeth. Nor are the members of the committee necessarily knowledgeable about the issues of homelessness and commerce swirling around the topic, Geigle-Teller says. That provision wasn't part of the draft ordinance Adams released in March.
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