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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Public Meeting Tonight on Sidewalk Restrictions

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Commissioner Amanda Fritz's office is hosting a public hearing at 7 tonight on Portland's controversial sidewalk rules, part of an ongoing process to make sure the law is working as planned.

Issues on the so-called sit-lie ordinance are normally taken up the first Monday of the month, in afternoon meetings of the city's Sidewalk Advisory Committee. But Fritz wanted to make sure anyone who has hard time making it downtown in the afternoons has a chance to speak up.

"This is an evening meeting where anyone who lives, works and plays downtown can talk about how they think the sidewalk management plan is working," says Fritz.

There's no specific agenda, she says. Neighbors and business owners, cops and politicians, plus a few advocates for the homeless, will be divided into small groups to share any concerns.

The issue has been controversial. Earlier this year, City Council introduced a sidewalk plan—don't call it a "sit-lie" law—that walls off most of the sidewalk. Previous versions, rejected by the city, left nowhere legal to sit.

A previous meeting brought out 200 people, Fritz says. Will tonight's draw a crowd, too?

"I have no idea if there'll be five or 50 or 500 people showing up," she says.

If you want to go, the meeting starts at 7 p.m., over at the First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 13th Ave., between Salmon and Main.

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