Mayor Hales issues Salmon-Safe challenge to other West Coast citiesRead More…
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Room 340, Portland, OR 97204
TUESDAY, OCT. 1, 2013 – Portland Police contacted several people sleeping on the sidewalk along Southwest Naito Parkway under the Morrison Bridge around 8 a.m. today, conducting routine "wake-up" calls and asking folks to pick up their property.
A dog running loose attacked and bit an officer, causing a minor injury. Several people became combative with officers, who deployed pepper spray in the course of making two arrests.
The dog has been taken by Multnomah County Animal Control.
The names and charges of those arrested will be released at a later time.
The following was printed in The Oregonian, page B7, on Wednesday, Aug. 14 ("A Measured approach to taking back out sidewalks.")
Lawlessness on Portland sidewalks is not a new issue. Nor is it an easy one.
So this summer, we crafted a plan to address lawlessness on the public right-of-way. The plan is under way now. It isn’t written in stone and it hasn’t been rushed. We’ll modify it as the need arises. We’ll listen to the advice of others. And, with luck and hard effort, we’ll find the happy medium that improves the quality of life for Portlanders while adhering to the strict confinements of state law and our city ordinances.
We didn’t launch this plan citywide, but rolled it out slowly, so we could gauge its overall effectiveness and make changes where necessary.
It started at City Hall because we had a strong, overriding public need at this, the people’s building. A number of people, apparently including members of the “Occupy Portland” movement, had been living on our sidewalks for months. Portland Police recorded 113 calls for service to this one block in just the first 180 days of the year. There were reports of drug-use, public drunkenness, fights, and intimidation. Residents called my staff every week to say they felt threatened or harassed, and felt they could not access their own City Hall.
In July, we told these folks it was time to move on. We asked them to pick up their large piles of things – some personal belongings, some garbage. They would be allowed to protest during the day, and to lay out a sleeping bag at night. But they could not set up residence on the sidewalks.
Many complied. The front of City Hall became much cleaner and more welcoming to city residents. Protesters still protest at City Hall. They did before we acted, they do today and they will always have that opportunity. Their First Amendment rights have not been altered.
Some of the lawless group picked up their belongings and moved across the street to Chapman Square.
During the first week in August, Portland Police informed them that they can’t live on that sidewalk, either. Some complied. Those who didn’t were interfering with a police officer, which is a Class A misdemeanor. That means court appointments and, possibly, warrants for failure to appear.
We picked other hotspots throughout the downtown core and did the same. It was a measured approach. We saw five arrests the first day, none the second and none the third. Again: Our approach was measured and methodical.
The goal is to remind people of the social contract: some activities are appropriate on our sidewalks, and some aren’t. It’s not just living on the sidewalk, but public sex, drug-use, alcohol-use – the kinds of lawless activities about which the great majority of Portland residents readily agree.
Will people still be able to have their voices heard at City Hall? Absolutely.
Is this a cure for homelessness in Portland? Of course not. That’s a huge, nationwide and local issue, which no one has been able to solve in decades. I’m committed to working on that issue in partnership with Multnomah County, law enforcement, social services and mental health organizations, homeless activists and the homeless themselves. I also want to work with the other large landowners in the area, including the railroads, the Oregon Department of Transportation and TriMet. We all need to manage the properties we own.
Meanwhile, bit by bit, our sidewalks are becoming more manageable. The 600,000 residents ofPortlandhave unfettered access to their City Hall, and to more and more of the civic spaces of our city that, after all, belong to all of us.
--Mayor Charlie Hales
MONDAY, JULY 22, 2013 – The City of Portland began clearing Occupy Portland protesters away from the sidewalks and plaza of City Hall. The protesters had been living in front of the building for months.
"We've had people trying to come into this building being harassed and having obscenities shouted at them," Mayor Charlie Hales said. "We've had people having sex on the sidewalks. That's all not OK. This is the public's business in the public's building.”
City Hall has been ground zero for the Occupy Portland demonstrators since fall 2011. Clusters of people had been living in front of City Hall, and their numbers have grown with warmer weather.
Police have received 113 calls for service at City Hall in the first 180 days of 2013. That prompted Mayor Hales to act.
Since taking office in January, Hales has made accessibility at City Hall a priority, hoping to make “the people’s building” more friendly to the city’s 600,000 residents. He has proposed adding coffee and food carts and retail in or around the building.