We reported earlier this week on a circuit court judge ruling the controversial sit/lie law unconstitutional. Now it seems the city attorney's office has reached a verdict to suspend enforcement of the law, and passed it on to Police Chief Rosie Sizer.
"I ruled that [the sit/lie law] is pre-empted by state law," says Judge Stephen Bushong. "It prohibits conduct permitted by state law, and that's not permitted under article 11, section two of our Oregon constitution." You can read Judge Bushong's entire ruling after the jump.
"It's great to see the end of this, because it was something that really looked unfair," says Patrick Nolen, an activist with Soapbox Under The Bridge who has fought the law since before its inception. "I've been working for a couple of years on this and I'm happy to see it go away. Although I don't think that just not enforcing it is the way to go. I think we need to get it off the books because it's still an unfair law," he says.
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz had planned to extend the ordinance for 6 more months while she, along with Commissioner Nick Fish, conducted "outreach" around it. But it turns out that the only outreach Fritz may end up doing is to have bought me a few slices of pizza. Fritz's office is yet to respond to an inquiry seeking comment.
It's been a great week to be an alternative weekly news reporter in Portland, Oregon. If only someone gave out prizes! When the county settled its part of the James Chasse Jr lawsuit yesterday for $925,000 I felt the Mercury's reporting on that issue over the last three years had been vindicated. Today's news about the sit/lie law is almost unbelievable on top of that. I'm proud of all the great work done by smart people on this issue and thrilled to see that good sense has finally prevailed.
Almost forgot: The Portland Business Alliance, which pushed for the sit/lie law, is yet to return a call for comment.
Have a GREAT FUCKING WEEKEND, Portland. I will.
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