To all beggers and panhandlers in Portland, Oregon:
It is a matter of grave concern to witness increasingly aggressive begging practices by area panhandlers in the recent years. Many of them display such rudeness and lack of even the basic sense of moral and ethic decency.
You, the beggers and panhandlers, must be hereby warned that your behavior is against the law and possibly may constitute a crime under the laws and regulations of the State of Oregon and of the United States of America.
1. Solicitation of funds from the general public without goods or services in consideration for such funds without license from the Oregon Department of Justice is unlawful.
2. Solicitation of funds from the general in public places without permit from the City of Portland or relevant authorities is unlawful.
3. Aggressive begging may constitute a crime.
4. Aggressive begging that blocks passage of pedestrians or that takes place in front of or near retail establishments, banks or other businesses, may constitute a felony.
To address this issue while preserving the human dignity of those who are in an unfortunate situation that would force them to become beggers, I propose an establishment of city regulations of panhandlers.
1. The City of Portland would establish a not-for-profit corporation known as Public Almsgiving Network Inc. (PAN), a tax-deductible charity under the auspices of the Portland Office of Neighborhood Involvement.
2. PAN, as the agent of the City of Portland, enrolls beggers as its official PANhandlers. After security clearance by and registration with the Portland Police Bureau, Oregon State Police and Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, a PANhandler will be issued one fluorescent-reflective vest (with large letters that read "PAN"), professional-quality uniforms, a locked, 1-foot-diameter metal pan with secure lid (that can only be opened by an authorized officer of the PAN Inc. or by a police officer) and a pad of official tax-deductible receipt forms.
3. PANhandlers then will be assigned to designated PANhandler areas throughout the city, which will be clearly marked by street signs and in downtown Portland maps published by the Portland Business Alliance.
4. PANhandlers will issue official receipts to those who donate to the PAN Inc. (Tax-deductible.)
5. At the end of their day, PANhandlers must return to the PAN office located at the Portland Building. All monies will at this time be collected by a city employee and will be received into the general funds account of the PAN Inc. Sixty percent of funds collected will be entered into a PANhandler's debit card account, after an administrative fee and federally-mandated withholding for taxes. PANhandlers may use the debit card at any merchant that accepts a MasterCard, but may not draw cash from ATM or by means of POS debit purchase. PAN Inc. may issue cards through Michigan National Bank, N.A., KeyBank N.A. or by BankOne N.A., industry leaders in prepaid debit card solutions.
6. PAN Inc. would implement a high degree of professional standard for all PANhandlers and will train all beggers into highly-professional and courteous agents of PAN Inc. The PANhandlers would learn valuable trade skills.
7. Periodical monitoring by shadow-almsgivers will ensure the quality and security of the program.
This is just one of many models to restore some sense of pride and decency for you on the street. Needless to say, what you lack is creativity. You can make money and prosper through many different ways, but because you spend so much time just begging and thinking that somehow the world owes you a living, you're still a loser and you've lost your own pride, dignity and hope.
Remember that you can still become a human again. There is always hope. Don't lose that sense.
a concerned citizen.