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Getting a Permit

Sometime soon, the City Council will be considering adopting changes to
the current "event permit" process. This will most likely affect anyone
conducting demonstrations, marches, vigils, etc. etc. as part of their
organizing work.
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 13:51:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: Peace and Justice Works < pjw@agora.rdrop.com>

Friends, police accountability activists, and fellow peace and justice
groups*:

Sometime soon, the City Council will be considering adopting changes to
the current "event permit" process. This will most likely affect anyone
conducting demonstrations, marches, vigils, etc. etc. as part of their
organizing work.

The new permit process was originally on the agenda in early August,
rumored to be coming up again on August 29, and is now on hold for an
unknown period of time.

I have not had time to read the proposed document in full detail, here are
some points that struck me, some of which were culled from an August 3 May
Day Coalition letter to City Council:

--Police will review permits, help set times and routes of marches, and
have the power to revoke permits

--Fees jump immediately from $70 to $575 if your march is longer than one
mile; then to $2300 if you have more than 750 in the march. (In other
words, the march for justice for Jose Mejia Poot would have cost over
$2000 instead of about $70.)

--Fees over $70 (for events other than "small sidewalk, large sidewalk and
street" events) include money which goes to the police bureau (who then
often intimidate, spy on, and occasionally attack protests...and whose
salaries are otherwise paid by tour taxes)

--Other than "small sidewalk, large sidewalk and street" events, most
events still need to have insurance, although in some cases the City may
waive the insurance requirements

--"Large parades" and "extra large events" (over 750 people) would have to
be scheduled 30 days in advance

--Event planners have to receive written permission from businesses who
may have access blocked to their building for substantial amounts of time,
so business and property owners along the route will have the power to
object to march routes or demonstration sites

--Organizers will be required to provide "parade marshals" and give police
their names and phone numbers five days in advance (but so far, not their
political affiliation)

--Appeals to City Council come only after first appealing back to the
permits department; then no new evidence can be introduced at Council.

It seems that we need to impress upon the Council the need for spontaneous
demonstrations to occur, but more importantly, that the Police Bureau
should have far less control of permits. (In my opinion, if the issue is
traffic, it should be the transportation bureau's responsibility; they
could then direct police what to do to accommodate organizers, instead of
the police doing the decision-making.) Also, the point of paying for
police to come to a march seems like a slippery slope toward privatizing
the police--why not charge people who call police after their house has
been burglarized?

FYI, the permits review committee consists of: Bureau of Licenses, Police,
Fire, Maintenance, Trimet, Transportation, Parks and Rec, Traffic, ONI,
and three citizen members.

Anyway, more info is on the city's website,
 http://www.licenses.ci.portland.or.us. If you can go testify when this
comes up at City Council, there's usually a sign-up sheet outside of
council chambers (1120 SW 5th) 15 minutes before the session starts.

By the way, the Mayor's site ( http://www.ci.portland.or.us/mayor)currently
has a poll going on about permits:
"Should protestors be required to get a permit to march in the streets and
close traffic?"
-- no: No, freedom of speech gives them the right to march and/or
protest
wherever they want.
-- yes: Yes, and pay for city cost to hood meters, barricade streets.
-- free: Yes, but they shouldn't have to pay anything.

thanks,
Dan Handelman
Peace and Justice Works/Portland Copwatch
(* no, these are not mutually exclusive categories.)
permits 26.Aug.2001 11:17

Josh

I can say from having held an event that WAS permitted that this will frustrate and discourage an already frustrating process.

I will never again get permits for an event as a result of my experiences, and it's not just a matter of money.

It's democracy neutered.