The mayor's office has released a draft of the plan that homeless advocates fear will be the new sit-lie law.
The plan designates six to eight feet of sidewalks as a "pedestrian zone" where people using the sidewalk not as "pedestrians" could be slapped with a $250 fine. The ordinance defines "pedestrian" as "a person must be on foot to be able to accommodate people with disabilities as well as other sidewalk users."
So no sitting, I assume. The city has released both the full ordinance and a two page FAQ sheet (download them here), which specifically notes issues regarding Portland's homeless. Camping is prohibited on public property, reiterates the FAQ sheet, but panhandling protected as free speech. The final question on the FAQ sheet is "What is the city investing in housing and ending homelessness?" the answer calls attention to the $46 million the Portland Housing Bureau will spend over the next year on homelessness issues.
Thoughts? Opinions? Progress? Street Roots has a little background on the ordinance from its perspective. The City Council will debate the plan April 8th. Mayor Adams office also put together this video about the plan.
Update 2:29 pm Mayor Adams says the new sidewalk plan was developed to work around the legal problems a judge noted in Portland's sit-lie law when he declared the policy unconstitutional last year. Under these new rules, people would be allowed to sit or lie in the two or more feet of space close to the curb that are not the official "pedestrian zone." "Banning free expression on every inch of the sidewalk is not going to fly with the Constitution," says Adams. "This is not a wink wink nudge nudge way to go after people who are homeless. We're trying to come up with something that is going to truly manage legal uses of the sidewalk."
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