Two media activists went chalking today to promote the Alternative Media Convergence on August 4 at Memorial Coliseum. A natural stop seemed the front sidewalk of the Oregonian. Before they could even finish one full announcement of the event, an Oregonian staff member came out with bucket and washed the message away. The determined chalkers moved to a new spot, only to be foiled again. Most ironic was the wiping away of "Oregonian doesn't want free speech", scrawled there in response to the instant erasure of the announcement. With this action, the Oregonian has made it clear that it doesn't plan on relinquishing its grip on media and free speech, even though these belong to the People. |
When questioned by Oregonian security, the activists produced a letter from Portland lawyer, Greg Kafoury, which read in part: "There is no city statute in Portland which outlaws the use of chalk on public sidewalks. The only related state statute is ORS 164.381, et seq. This section does not make applying chalk on a public sidewalk an offense, because the statute only covers an act which 'intentionally damages property.' ORS 164.383. Chalk is readily washable, and since it does not alter the sidewalk itself, there is no damage."