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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sit Lie: The T-Shirt

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 11:44 AM

This guy Joe Walsh, a Vietnam veteran, has been at city council every week for the last month protesting the city's new "sidewalk management plan" which Walsh and 568 people on Facebook think is just an unconstitutional rehash of the old Sit/Lie ordinance.

Here's the thing about Walsh: Every week he's shown up in a different, homemade anti-Sit Lie shirt. Last week's had stick-on letters reading "Sit Lie Shame" and this week's is a stencil. "I'm trying to assemble a whole wardrobe," he jokes.

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Walsh's main beef with the new sidewalk rules is that the law leans on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to justify clearing people out of a six to eight foot wide swath of sidewalk. But Walsh, who wheels around an oxygen tank with him and is supposed to be using a cane, says the council chambers itself is causes trouble for people with disabilities. There is no designated place for people in wheelchairs or with mobility issues to sit up front at the council hearings—when Walsh took a seat in front at the May 26 council meeting, he was asked to get up and move to the back so council could do a photoshoot with the Rose Festival Princesses and some people in unitards. "I flipped my top over that," he says. Though Walsh vented his complaints to a city hall staffer last week after testifying about the problems to city council, he also filed an ADA complaint with the Department of Justice.

Meanwhile, Walsh has company out at the weekly protest: Roberto Lovato, a fellow member of the Oregon Progressive party who has a reversible sign ready for any protest!

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