Civil liberties lawyers and community activists have won a recent victory in getting a proposed "sit-lie" ordinance removed from the current round of Title 14 revisions. The current round of revisions will be decided on in a public hearing on May 29th. Controversial elements of the revisions that have been removed, including the "sit-lie" ordinance, will be heard separately by the City Council after July 1st.
In response the Association for Portland Porgress, which has asked for a "sit-lie" ordinance, has begun increasing pressure on the city. The Portland Tribune released a story today, quoting the APP President, Franklin Kimbrough, describing "aggressive panhandling as a serious problem that's impacted [downtown] business." Kimbrough's argument is based on a survey conducted by APP among downtown business owners. The following open letter was written to Mr. Kimbrough by community members in response to his comments.
Friday, May 17, 2002
An open letter to Franklin Kimbrough, President of the Association for Public Progress:
This letter was written in response to comments made by Mr. Kimbrough, published in the Portland Tribune on Friday, May 17, 2002.
Dear Mr. Kimbrough,
We agree that aggressive pan-handling would be harmful to business anywhere. As citizens who live and work in downtown, our experience is that aggressive pan-handling is rare. When it does occur it is dealt with swiftly, using existing laws.
Since the 1970's the numbers of men, women, and children on the street have drastically increased because minimum wage jobs have not kept up with the cost of living, unemployment is at an all time high, rents have skyrocketed, hundreds of units of affordable housing have been lost, and human services have remained woefully inadequate.
We acknowledge, therefore, that pan-handling does exist, but it is one of a short list of options to meet basic human needs. We understand that the current recession is having a negative impact on Portland's downtown. We urge you to not frighten away potential visitors and shoppers with misleading information about pan-handling.
Poor people want the same right to use Pioneer Square as "Portland's living room" as everyone else. Let's meet there to begin a dialogue . We will take responsibility to call and set this up.Sincerely
Glenn Warren CC: Portland Tribune