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Open letter to Portland beggers

Calls for a citywide standard and regulation for panhandling practices.
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.

Some examples? 07.Apr.2003 20:54


I'm just curious. What kind of aggressive panhandling have you experienced? It must be something really alarming for you to come up with such a proclamation and plan.

I walk a lot in Portland. I wish there weren't so many panhandlers here. I wish they wouldn't even ask me for money. But I have never experienced anything but polite panhandling.

It might help others to take you seriously if you gave some examples of this aggressive behavior.

Aggressive panhandling, examples 07.Apr.2003 21:04


Real examples.

Today, around 3 p.m. West Burnside Street at 11th Avenue: a black male about the age of 45, offensive body odor, blocked my path as I deboarded the number 20 TriMet bus, demanding me to give it "a dollar or two." I ignored it, then he followed me for about 3 feet, continuing to block my path, yelling a few offensive words.

Today, around 2 p.m., Southwest Fifth Avenue at Morrison Street: a black male, age 30ish, bad attitude and lots of FCC-banned words used in order to solicit funds. A bad way of achieving its ends.

Last week, in the evening, at a TriMet bus mall shelter, marked "W": a white female, most likely a teenager or early 20s. Bad attitude, offensive words, cussed at me for whatever the reason that could be. This panhandler had an audacity to repeat this for about ten times in the past days.

2 weeks ago, on Southwest Yamhill Street at Broadway: an authorized Street Roots vendor with bad attitude, blocking my path and followed me around for a block. I intend to report him to the Street Roots director, but I do not have the badge number as the number was conveniently blocked inside his coat.

These are only a little sample of what I see on almost daily basis. With the current condition of economy and unemployment, this situation is worsening.

hey 'Molly'--- 07.Apr.2003 21:15

: )

sounds like you're putting off too much of a W.A.S.P. vibe--


1. they think you're loaded

combined with

2. you look like enough of an asshole for them not to 'ask politely' or quit when first refused


try putting on more of a **smile** and looking like you enjoy your privileged American-with-a-job-and-a-life status. It'll make you seem more friendly, like a 'regular' person.


just stay off the streets, period. Lock the white picket fence and duct tape yourself into the house. Wrap your fingers round the nearest shootin' iron and watch Fox News until the homeless hordes arrive at your suburban doorstep.

either way, your frequency of unpleasant encounters with street folks is bound to decline.

Panhandling on TriMet properties 07.Apr.2003 21:18


Panhandling at TriMet's bus stops, mall shelters, transit centers and MAX stations constitute a criminal trespassing.

In establishing authorized PANhandling zones, the city council and the Portland Business Alliance should be consulted. Ideally, PANhandling zones should be scattered throughout the city, with less than five PANhandlers assigned to any one single zone. Larger zones could be established at places such as West Delta Park, Metro Broughton Beach, I-205 offramps and other remote locations apart from business and residential areas. With diversified locations and high visibility, PANhandlers will attract those who are compassionate while safely keeping away the rest of the hard-working citizenry from uninvited begging. The end result will be a win-win solution, an increased revenue and professional development opportunities for the PANhandlers while keeping Portland a livable and prosperous city free from typical inner-city infestations.

Perhaps a certain percentage of monies allocated to PANhandlers could be held in a "reserve fund" of some kind, to be used for specific purposes that would ultimately help the PANhandlers for a longer-term goal of developing life skills and good careers.

You can still become human again. 07.Apr.2003 21:19

Me raf@reed.edu

Look at what you wrote:

"you can still become a human again"

"demanding me to give it "a dollar or two." I ignored it,"

Here's a newsflash: those "it"s already ARE human. I really hope that your posts are a late April fool's joke, or a poor attempt at satire. Otherwise, I'll humbly suggest, without knowing you, that you take a long and deep look at your OWN "humanity." I'm not saying it's okay to be rude, but the solution to rudeness and desperation isn't control, intimidation, and dehumanization. I'd argue that it's compassion, love, and understanding. I rarely give money to panhandlers because my own income is just (barely) enough to keep me sheltered and fed, but I also don't ignore them or treat them as non-humans. And they're ALWAYS nice to me in return. If you're experiencing rudeness, maybe you should look at your own attitude, and see what the results are. But since I'm posting here, I must just be another stupid, filthy, jobless IMC hippy, right? It's always easier to dehumanize others than empathize with them, because that might have to involve looking at ourselves.

What an idiot... 07.Apr.2003 21:19


"With the current condition of economy and unemployment, this situation is worsening."

Give me a break. I guess no one ever told you that the majority of these people spend the winter in SoCal and then ride the boxcars back up here for all the free social services they can get here. If you don't want to be around them then don't go where they cluster...

City of Aggressive Beggars 07.Apr.2003 21:27


Thank you! I am sick and tired of being harrassed and
cursed at by able bodied-spoiled american lazy asses
in this town.I was just hassled at a bus stop on Saturday
because I wouldn't give money to a healthy-looking
fast talking 20 something male.
I had my bike tire slashed near Rite-Aid downtown
by two beggars because I wouldn't give them money..
How do I know it was them!..a clerk at a nearby store
saw them do it and came out and told me.
My musician friends have told me about all the people
they know who have moved to Oregon so thay can live
off "Oregon Plastic"..Oregon Trail Card.Many of them
call themselves "anarchists"..tee hee.They also talk
about how Portland is the best city for panhandling..
Cry over the failure of Measure 28?
City of Beggars..too many easily got social services
for zip! Welfare Reform for the sake of the folks who REALLY
need it.Please!
The panhandling situation in PDX needs to be looked at for sure.

Another concerned c.

Molly sounds like a real BITCH 07.Apr.2003 21:27

Zak Attack

Molly sounds like a real life BITCH!

Attitude? 07.Apr.2003 21:32


it could YOUR attitude. You seem like a real bitch -

Other options for the panhandlers 07.Apr.2003 21:34


Why not join the army?

1. Army will train you and build your character.
2. Army will pay you well, with excellent federal benefits and housing allowance.
3. People in America will respect you as heroes and defenders of freedom. People abroad will either hate you as imperialist aggressors (in such case you'll have semiautomatics) or worship you as liberators (be sure to give them chocolates and cigarettes).
4. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will take care of you for the rest of your life with free medical care, college scholarships and many other goodies, as long as you're honorably discharged.

See  link to www.goarmy.com or visit the Recruitment Center on NE Broadway at 12th Avenue.

Semper fidelis!

Molly Join the Army 07.Apr.2003 21:42


Maybe YOU should join the army - with all the structure and discipline you're proposing for the "beggers" - why not get some for yourself?

To the Reed student 07.Apr.2003 21:45


Hey, I'm very poor and struggle daily to make ends meet. I don't have the luxury of attending a prestigious private college such as Reed for a quality education even though I desire it so much. I sometimes feel tempted to beg on the street too, and I know sometimes they make more money than I do (from what I see in their buckets and such, at least). They qualify for a numerous social service benefits for being drug addicts, alcoholics or whatever, and still they think the world owes (and somehow I owe) them a living. Have they got any sense of human dignity or pride? Whatever happened to the good sense of work ethics and creativity America used to cherish? I'd understand if I'm in a former stalinist nation where they had experienced no other ways of living than government handouts. Despite the fact that my income is less than 30 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, I am mostly free of public assistance by keeping myself smart money-wise, being creative and well-disciplined. The last thing I should be doing is to spend the money I earned on those who are not even willing to hope for a life better than the lowlife they're in. It's all about attitudes and mindset. I pay taxes and I know the taxes are already too high on the lower-income people partly because the government has to either support the lowlife through welfare programs or incarcerate (now the USA has over 2 million prisoners) them because they are criminals. Give me a break.

Dear Molly 07.Apr.2003 21:48

A Concerned Friend

Dear Molly,

I am an old friend of yours. I haven't seen you in a few months, but I am am concerned about you. After reading your message, I have determined that either:

1. Your message is a joke and/or a poor attempt at satire. If this is the case, everyone should ignore you.

2. You are a deluded, insane, out-of-touch, robot fucking bitch. If this is the case, everyone should ignore you.

In either case, please shut up, Molly. Your words make the world a worse place for everyone.

- Your pal Julie

about those army benefits 07.Apr.2003 21:51


a. The Republican-controlled House Budget Committee voted to cut $25 billion in veterans benefits over the next 10 years.

b. The Bush administration proposed cutting $172 million from impact aid programs that provide school funding for children of military personnel.

c. The administration ordered the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to stop publicizing health benefits available to veterans.

d. Veterans of the first Gulf War, nearly a third of whom are officially recognized by the DVA as being "disabled" due to the serious conditons arising from "Gulf War Syndrome" are currently being asked by the government to pay for their own medical bills out of pocket. Semper Fi indeed.
molly, why not join an organization which would help rehabilitate these people and help them find jobs? or do you think they'll just disappear if you make them more illegal?
the current job market creates homelessness and welfare cases. it is reality. what do you want these people to do commit suicide (i.e. joining the armed forces)? be glad that they have not gotten more violent, as is bound to happen when recessions worsen. thankgod our president is really helping us out the economic situation, huh?

i think the president's plan was that charitable organizations and "faith-based programs" were going to take the place of actual government support for the homeless, so i guess with such charitable, understanding people like you inhabiting our nation, that plan isn't gonna work is it?

if welfare = stolen tax money 07.Apr.2003 22:02


then you might be even more conerned to know that many many thousands of time the amount spent on welfare for addicts and criminals is spent on welfare for corporate clients. yes, that's right - your argument applies to the very wealthy people who also don't work hard for their money, and who are rich thanks to you, the inocent taxpayer. these welfare benefits are channeled to them in the form of free access to publicly funded institutions, tax cuts and incentives for business development which aren't applicable to "the little guy", unfettered acess to the public environment for dumping of toxic waste - for a small fee, also known as a "fine", subsidies for agribusiness, logging, defense contractors, and prison builders which put the pittance doled out to the nation's poor into a tiny little frame of relevance. if you want to get into the math of where our federal money goes, do some research and see for yourself. welfare has been cut back further and further consistently for the last 10 years. honest "hard-working" people are also receiving welfare checks, known as "unemployment benefits" without having to work. if the homeless had more money to live off of, they wouldn't bother you so much because theywould be able to eat. have you ever been hungry? it makes you do desperate things. if everyone could survive by being smart with money then we wouldn't have social problems, molly, but money does not grow on trees. just cause you are able to make it doesn't mean everyone else can. people are poor not because they are lazy, but because there are no opportunites. spend 6 months uneployed and you'll know what i'm talking about, i've been there myself recently - it isn't about ideals, but about cold hard cahs, which just isn't there.

Yet another.... 07.Apr.2003 22:03


In "Molly" we have yet another example of a capitalism fan who asks to be shielded from the inevitable consequences of the system she espouses.


Dear Julie 07.Apr.2003 22:13


Dear Molly,

I was wondering where you went -- I heard from Kate that you went to Texas, but apparently you may be back (or just keeping track of this site often). Either case, I'm not insane. These people who post a lot on this website sometimes are not aware of the existence of the silent majority -- hard-working, patriotic, law-abiding, church-going, tax-paying Americans who struggle financially but still work hard to achieve their dreams. What they have is a sense of destiny, faith and yes, patience. Exactly they're the quality those beggers lack in general. My housemate is even worse off financially than I am, sometimes cannot even afford enough money to get a gas so she could go to work or even two all-zone TriMet tickets for the same purpose, but she supports our troops, votes Republican and give generously to social justice concerns, faith-based or secular. She does not have a college diploma, but she doesn't complain about it, either. She gets up early and works extra hours, and comes home exhausted. The behaviors of these beggers are very offensive and flies in front of my face as an utter insult and contempt for her, myself and many other hard-working Americans.

I am well-aware of the situation caused by the Bush administration and the current Oregon legislature (I supported Harry Browne in 2000, for the record) and the grossly misdirected policies of the government that spends money on military while cutting funding for social services. But in the end, all what matters is you. This is a free country, and I am forever grateful for America for its freedom even though it is now at risk. Many of the IMC contributors/readers call themselves anarchists, the word deriving from Greek ana (without) and archon (ruler). Want freedom from government? Then they should stop being hypocritical and want more dependency to governments. They should not sell their so-called struggle for freedom for food stamps or Oregon Health Plan if they are really serious about their beliefs. I'd respect their opinions if they have such a degree of integrity.



Molly the Clueless 07.Apr.2003 22:23

Be part of the solution....

Molly the fact that you posted this message about beggars & panhandlers on a website suggests to me that you have absolutely NO CLUE about what type of lifestyle most of the people you're talking about have. Most of them lack basic NECESSITIES (as evidenced by the man with the horrendous body odor). Therefore, they certainly lack the LUXURIES - like a COMPUTER with internet access! So how are they supposed to read your message???? *DUH*

I sure hope that you don't think that people who have access to and read indymedia are the ones panhandling out there, or do you??? If it wasn't so laughable when I saw this, it would be insulting. In truth, it's just pathetic.

Remember that 'there but for the grace of God go I' (modern day translation: "Thank God that isn't ME, but if I was born into a different home, had different circumstances etc. etc., maybe that WOULD be me"). Then decide what YOU can do to help change/correct the situation or 'ease the path' of just ONE person you see each week. (example: buy a $XX gift certificate to the grocery store to hand out to the first panhandler you see each week - and then consider YOUR job done for the week; THEN you will START to be part of the solution instead of just complaining about the problem. You'll feel a whole lot better than you do right now and you'll make someone else feel a whole lot better too. It's a start *sigh* You already acknowledged that 'it's going to get a whole lot worse', which means you know that most of these peoples troubles are REAL and even more people will be having them.

Molly - NOT an American 07.Apr.2003 22:26


Salient points from Molly:
- After SECURITY CLEARANCE by and REGISTRATION WITH the Portland Police Bureau, a PANhandler...

- At the end of their day, PANhandlers MUST RETURN to the PAN office located at the Portland Building

- SIXTY PERCENT of funds collected will be entered into a PANhandler's debit card account

- PANhandlers ... may not draw (their) cash

- Periodical MONITORING by shadow-almsgivers will ensure the quality and security of the program

So, Molly, you want the "beggars" to:

- Clear security and be registered
- Have their movements determined by others
- Receive 60% of their "earnings"
- Have no say in what their money is spent on
- Be monitored by undercover agents

Oh, and you say THEY'RE not human?

If this message wasn't so scary it would be laughable. I don't know if you belong in Nazi Germany or present-day North Korea. You certainly don't belong in this country.


Hey Drew 07.Apr.2003 22:47


Many employers (especially governments) in this country do the same thing to their employees. While at work the employees are property of the employers and their shareholders, and they do not have the same kind of constitutional rights as they do while off duty.

All what I am expecting of them is the same level of professionalism.

Oh, darn those pesky panhandlers! 07.Apr.2003 22:49

Katherine fem79inist@yahoo.com

I always find it interesting when I hear people say that panhandlers are rude and belligerent towards them. I find it interesting because I think it's happened to me maybe twice in my life. I think panhandlers are seldom rude to me because I always try to be nice, even if I'm in a hurry, and I never ignore them outright. To ignore someone who is asking you a question -- even if you think they're just some boxcar-jumping gutter punk, or they should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and go out and get one of those many wonderful jobs that are available -- is condescending and just unnecessary. What good will it do for you to ignore them? I've never been unfortunate enough to have to panhandle, but I did have a canvassing job once where I had to ask passersby to sign petitions to get the minimum wage increase on the ballot, and I can tell you it gets annoying after awhile to be outright ignored by people when you're talking to them. After a few days of that, I was ready to start spewing obscenities at people, too. This experience reminded me of how important it is to be courteous to my fellow human beings. After canvassing, I have made sure that I am always courteous to canvassers and panhandlers. To me, it doesn't matter why they're panhandling, or whether they are boxcar-jumping kids who are homeless by choice, or whether they want to buy beer with my money, or whatever. I don't give a shit, because none of that offers a relevant enough reason for me to be rude to them or to ignore them.

And let me say this: After watching a video clip from a Middle East news station of a little boy in a hospital who had to have both arms amputated after a US bombing, and who lost his entire family (mother, father, and two brothers), I sat in my living room and just lost it. All of the shame and sorrow I feel for this atrocity called war finally caught up to me, and I couldn't stop crying. And then I get online and read about someone's concerns over those pesky panhandlers, and I just want to say: There are far more horrible things to be irritated about right now, namely the mass slaughter of innocent children. So if you have the time to and want to feel indignant about something, please put your energies to better use and quit coming up with crackpot schemes to keep panhandlers from ruining your day.

Excellent critique 07.Apr.2003 22:56

Be part of the solution......

Drew, after reading your excellent post, as well as the many others that appeared, I really wish that we could 'edit' on this site. I would take out the whole last paragraph of MY previous post. You hit the nail on the head and I feel like an idiot for 'buying' into it even a little bit and trying to be 'nice'. Now I've got to figure out how to 'address these enemies' without losing my own humanity.

No, Molly... 07.Apr.2003 22:57


Employees are never the PROPERTY of their employers. Also, people do not lose their constitutional rights while working for someone.

You are uninformed yet opinionated - a dangerous combination. You really don't belong in a free country with those ideas. (I'm serious) Consider a move...


To "Be Part of the Solution" 07.Apr.2003 23:07



I thought you made a good point! Actually doing something about a problem once is better than complaining about it any number of times.

Molly probably thinks she is trying to do something, but doesn't realize how ill-conceived and abhorrent her solution really is.


Molly, molly,m.o.l.l.y..... 07.Apr.2003 23:13

you can't be real

"Molly" it can't be possible for you to be so scared of the panhandlers. We are the majority! Oregon is #1 in poverty, #1 in hunger, #1 in child poverty, #1 in children hunger, #2 in unemployment nation-wide. WE ARE #1 (or #2) !! If that isn't American, I don't know what is. Are you not striving to be #1? Maybe that's what makes you so uncomfortable. Maybe you should become more American with your statistical standpoint. Become part of the in-crowd, Molly, become, #1!

ehh... 07.Apr.2003 23:35


Im not going to comment on the bulk of what you said for various reasons (one being that I am disgusted by your lack of compassion, even though I too am very much fed up with agressive panhandling), but I will comment on this-

"2 weeks ago, on Southwest Yamhill Street at Broadway: an authorized Street Roots vendor with bad attitude, blocking my path and followed me around for a block. I intend to report him to the Street Roots director, but I do not have the badge number as the number was conveniently blocked inside his coat."

I know exactly who you are talking about. I intend to report him as soon as I have the time...

out of all the agressive panhandlers downtown, this guy pisses me off the most.

I guess its because I do buy street roots... and often from him. And I am always polite and respectful to the street roots dealers, and they are always polite and respectful to me when I encounter them. I have a LOT of respect for that organization and for most of the people involved with it, and it really fucking pisses me off that he is giving them a bad name AND being fucking obnoxious. He hasnt always been like this though... I suspect he is having some issue in his life that is causing him to be more desparate. but jesus christ. not all of us have enough money to buy the fuckin paper from every vendor we see.

OH. and another thing... I HATE it when people panhadle pretending to be street roots vendors. there is a guy who has been at PSU for the last week or so doing that.

Generally, I dont have a problem with people panhandling. I dont give them money (Im an unemployed college student...)
I always look panhandlers in the eye and address them as PEOPLE. and I still get treated like shit by some of them. I wish that they were always nice to me in return like they are to  raf@reed.edu...

Molly, it makes me sad that you can feel like homeless people arent really human. there are some really fucking cool people out there who happen to be homeless. I have known a few, and talked to many others. Homelessness, for most, is not a chosen profession or way of life.

You may find it worthwhile to spend some time doing some voulenteer work at an oranization that helps the homeless. I think that you will find that in some cases you are right. Some homeless people are really lame. they are abusers of the social system we live in and are just looking for a handout.
but I think that you will find that in MOST cases they are just people in bad situations that they are trying to work their way out of. A big problem with the lack of pride and dignity of the homeless is that they are treated like they arent human or like they dont exist all the time.

Maybe try a visit to sisters of the road cafe sometime.

Does anyone else wonder? 07.Apr.2003 23:42


Is it just me, or does anyone else wonder exactly how many of Portlands beggars are currently connected to the internet? What a waste of bandwidth.

There is no 'Molly'...This is their 'Plan' 07.Apr.2003 23:58

Be part of the Solution...

Drew, the point you latched onto so well (but it's so hard to believe) is that this is the 'Plan'. Replace 'beggars' with 'us'.....'Molly' is the representation of what our 'government' thinks of us....we the people. WE, you and I and all of the other 'working stiffs', who haven't sold our souls to the company 'corporate' store are the beggars. The future that you recognized for the 'beggars'....that is what (they want) our future to be like. See your future, and I quote:

"So, Molly, you want the "beggars" to:

- Clear security and be registered
- Have their movements determined by others
- Receive 60% of their "earnings"
- Have no say in what their money is spent on
- Be monitored by undercover agents

Oh, and you say THEY'RE not human?"

It can be real 08.Apr.2003 00:01


Have you ever wondered why Oregon is #1 or #2 in all those things? Certainly some of it has to do with the recession or economic downturn or whatever you want to call it--every state is going through hard times. What makes Oregon #1, however, is Mayor Katz. She is willing to provide food, drink, shelter, and other supplies for the needy masses so that all the money they can panhandle can go to support their dope habit. Or, they can use their money to log on to the internet (they don't even need to buy a computer to "be part of the solution . . ."). That makes Portland a particularly attractive place for panhandlers, especially coupled with the fact that the jails are for the most part closed. You can harass people and get away with it!! Joy of joys!!

Molly, if I read your suggestion correctly, essentially what you are proposing is giving panhandlers jobs. I think this is a noble idea. Allow people who are supposedly down on their luck a chance to make something of an honest living, while at the same time raising public awareness and acceptance of pandhandlers. I say that's a great idea, especially if you couple it with police enforcement of non-PANhandlers.

I've about had it with rude and obnoxious panhandlers as well. Point of fact, if anyone cares: according to a survey of downtown pedestrians conducted by the Portland Business Alliance (sorry I don't have the link), panhandling is the number one complaint, far ahead of any other complaint (If memory serves me correctly, something about traffic is #2). Just thought I'd throw that out there for everybody.

Go Away 08.Apr.2003 00:10

Ed harley


I suggest you move to a country that has a social safety net - such as Norway, Germany, Cuba, or Canada. You'll experience less destitution in those places.


It's just you 08.Apr.2003 00:18


OMG, I'm answering my own question....."how many homeless people are connected to the internet"?????

Stupid BitchQQQQ

Our Future? 08.Apr.2003 00:42



Holy shit - you're right! If you take the list of things Molly is suggesting, and think about those rules applying to everyone...

It sounds an awful lot like the Bush administration's (and John Ashcroft's) plan for the American people. Fewer rights, being spied on, etc...

That sent chills down my spine....


Brahahahahhaha 08.Apr.2003 00:43

does this make any sense to you??????

Homeless peoples FIRST choice is to log-onto the internet:

Or, they can use their money to log on to the internet (they don't even need to buy a computer to "be part of the solution . . ."). That makes Portland a particularly attractive place for panhandlers

Recognizing disruption 08.Apr.2003 03:29


Now, I don't know if this is true--perhaps 'Molly' just feels that strongly about homeless people (let me second her nomination as 'evil robot bitch' in that case)--but her long-'winded' persistence, along with the tone, which seems designed to maximize the message's offensiveness, would make her a much more likely candidate for identification as a paid agent of someone with an interest in disrupting the functionality of indymedia. We've all obviously been ensnared by the lure of a highly provocative piece of text with little relevance to the subjects currently under heaviest discussion by the community which reads PDX indymedia as a useful information source into a nice little perfectly pointless internet debate over a proposal that was obviously never to be taken seriously to begin with.

In other words, congratulations to all, myself included: excepting the above-mentioned possibility, we've all just fallen for a very well-calculated disruption operation. This is the kind of thing that actual FBI/COINTELPRO agents would use in such an operation, not the crude objections to the site's presumed ideological stance advanced by adolescents or pathetic middle-aged freepers (B.A., Woodsman, Mike, Goat,... I think we all know he/them by now). The trap in this case was very well laid and managed to snag quite a few of us, who have now contributed our time to it as well as a sizable amount of server space (almost as though someone wants to limit the available resources which might be utilized presenting coverage of more relevant events in the near future--just a thought.)

Molly's Message to the POOR 08.Apr.2003 06:54

Will Work for Food

drop dead!

are you poor? too bad. that is your problem?

got no money for food. tough. eat shit and die.

can't get a job? try prostitution instead.

An objective viewpoint 08.Apr.2003 08:24


First of all I want to refute a couple of things said by Molly in her first post.

"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."

Wrong. Panhandler if done properly is protected by free speech. If I stand on a corner without breaking any other laws I can ask for money all day and it is NOT illegal.

"2. Solicitation of funds from the general in public places without permit from the City of Portland or relevant authorities is unlawful."

Wrong. You are thinking about street vending not panhandling.

"3. Aggressive begging may constitute a crime."

Correct. It is actually "Offensive Physical Contact" that is used for this. Basically the law says that you cannot act in a manner that causes another person to fear for their safety or to take actions to avoid you. Note: You do not have to actually touch the person for this to be used, you just have to make them afraid.

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.

Sorta wrong. There is no felony associated with this as described above. There was an effort to outlaw panhandling within a certain distance from ATM's but this has not passed. If you are on private property (doorways, up against building, under "dripline" you COULD be charged with trespass which is a misdemeanor. As for blocking this is the infamout "Sit/Lie" ordinance.

Molly is in right field and is going way overboard in her reaction. That said... there are many aggressive panhandlers. Some are mentally ill and those I don't count. Many others are out there because they are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. I have a bit more of a problem with these. I have an addictive personality myself, but I am aware of that and make efforts to control it. And there are others who are out there for a variety of other reasons. That doesn't mean they are less than human.

A good alternative if you have a couple of bucks and want to help are the Real Change coupons. You can get them from a couple of different places downtown. They are 25 cents and come in a book of four. They can be redeemed at area shelters and providers for food, clothing, etc. I like them because I keep a few around and when I am asked either the person takes them or turns around and walks away. They can't really yell at you if you are trying to help, and if they do take it you know it will be used for essential services not feeding their addiction.

Whew! 08.Apr.2003 08:31


What a long thread, really hit a nerve. I think that just about everything has been said. Molly; I do believe that you need to look at things from a different perspective and get out of your body for a while. I have never, in my entire life experienced what you claim to have experienced with homeless persons. Yea, there's an occassional 20 something with a mouth, but it's all in your attitude. Right now however, I am not going to criticize you, you've gotten enough advice thus far. I am sending you some

Reality Check Calling...... 08.Apr.2003 09:03

Hello Molly Are You There?

Molly I am curious .... exactly how do you handle those pesky phone solicitors that call just when you are about to sit down for your elegant evening meal inside the warm and safe walls of your ivory tower?

xoxoxoxo 08.Apr.2003 09:38

israel bayer

Before the budget cuts took place over 1600 people resided on the streets of Portland, today we have no idea on the amount of people living on the streets of Portland, but we do know the numbers are increasing.
With the lack of shelter beds, affordable housing and employment often times people are at a loss on how to pull themselves out of homelessness. It's an age old question with no short term solutions. I do find it very appalling to find posts on indymedia suggesting houseless people joining the military as a solution to getting off the streets. Hate crimes against houseless people in Portland and around the nation are on the rise. It seems to me this is just another misinformed person speaking out against people living on the streets instead of working with people to find solutions.
The solutions do not lie in more security, more ordinances or more laws. It costs the public more to fund emergency services, and jailing houseless folks than it would to create sustainable affordable housing.
I would suggest to Molly or whoever seems to have a problem with aggressive panhandlers to come into the street roots newsroom on 1231 SW Morrison and have a civilized conversation about the solutions of houselessness instead of posting numerous rants on the faults of people living on the streets. I would write more, but I do have work to do and it doesn't include writing an essay on indymedia responding to one angry citizen of Portland. Thanks, Israel Bayer

...they can ask me for money.... 08.Apr.2003 10:27


...but I am tired of being asked for cigarettes. From the homeless. From the 15 year olds. From the rich. From the poor. I don't smoke. I am not going to give you a smoke, a light, or anything else. Please stop asking me, then asking me again as if you don't believe me. Please do not smirk, bitch, or outright call me a liar when I cannot give you a smoke. I am sorry I cannot puke up my lung to give you proof that I do not smoke, nor have ever smoked. I have fed the homeless on several occasions, given money, clothing, etc, but you cannot justify to me the need to panhandle for cigs..... this is YOUR addiction, you pay to support yourself on it.

And on the subject of panhandlers.... I think many people's disdain lies with the "Professionals".... the guy who asks for money because he is out of gas, and then you watch him get into a car and drive off. Of the lady who asks you for money because her baby is at home sick, but then turns to someone else with a brand new story.

It is also getting frustrating that when you are barely making it yourself and you walk down the street and 30 people ask for money.... if you gave them all money, you'd be on the street next week.... but if you only give one money, you look like a jerk-- or else people get angry because you don't have enough for all.

About "Recognizing Disruption" 08.Apr.2003 11:25


I agree with Steve's comment above that this whole thing could be a planted story. When I read the original post, I thought the whole thing was a joke, then when I saw "Molly's" responses I began to wonder.

On the other hand, the idiocy of some people never fails to surprise me. We may never know whether "Molly" is genuine or a fake.

The lesson to learn is to always be aware that there will be people trying to disrupt and distract us, from both within and without the movement.


army? 08.Apr.2003 11:34


I was so disgusted by this story that i never posted anything about it, figuring the chick was a lost cause or some kind of troll (no offense to real trolls who at least admit that's what they are) just trying to piss us off. But her suggestion that the homeless join up with the armed services! i suppose she forgot several things about the homeless:
A) many street kids are just that, kids, and too young to join the army. As i understand it, you have to be eighteen to join. Also, some street kids may be somewhat tramutized by their experiences being abused, molested, and otherwise mistreated by the families they escaped.
B) many homeless people have servere mental (allot of people became homeless when they were kicked out of mental institutions because of lack of funding) and physical disorders. I wonder what she thinks about those non-humans with no legs sitting in wheel chairs, politely asking for money for medicine? Those freeloaders!
C) An extremely high percentage of homeless people are actually veterans who were wounded or mentally disturbed during their tours of duty, or who lost their veterans benefits.
D) that a good way to commit suicide is to join the Armed Services, particularly during times of active conflict. But hey, maybe you want them all to die, Molly. I mean, it's not like it matters if they do. They're not human, after all. And besides, it's your job as an army recruiter (which you obviously are) not to see the people you recruit as people. You just gottta bring in those numbers to get paid.
Yes, i too get annoyed with people who are mean when they ask me for change, particularly those wearing clothes that cost a hell of allot more than mine. But I usually try not to judge an entire group by a few people who go too far. besides, i figure if one homeless guy who wandered around talking to people and asking them for food, water, and shelter, can start a major religion that inspires millions of people, they can't all be bad. But then, Jesus wasn't human either...
Don't blame the people on the streets. Blame the people on capital hill who failed them.

Oh ,can't ya' just feel the love 08.Apr.2003 13:12

Nature Boy

Hi Molly. I just thought you could benefit from this. I came to Portland three years ago with my work. I got very sick,too sick to continue working or survive the journey home. I asked for assistance from this city to help me get better and/or home, but was met with no help. I could not get food stamps, ironically because I made to much at my previous job. I couldn't bring myself to panhandle because of my arrogant pride. I couldn't get a job because I had no home, and couldn't afford to clean myself. I can only assume that I would already be dead if not for the genorosity and unasked for kindness of complete strangers who helped me, unlike our government, to get better and get off the streets. A YEAR AND A HALF ON THE STREETS. Ican't argue with you for not giving money to panhandlers, being able to afford it or not. But I can argue that their are other ways to help . you could volunteer with a soup kitchen, a shelter, kind words for god's sake homeless people are human, believe it or not. If you don't, I challenge you to try one of the things I suggested.

For pride, dignity and professionalism 08.Apr.2003 14:49


It simply blows my mind: all what I am saying is that the beggers should be destigmatized by being organized into a well-disciplined, highly-trained troop of agents for a publicly-sanctioned social service agency that will help the beggers rebuild their lives, build character, pride and dignity.

What you guys take offense is highly unreasonable. I guess the kind of world you want is an orwellian society. Just look at the "Dignity" village. How much more orwellian that can be? How can sleeping under the Fremont Bridge or at the leaf composting area be anything dignified? What they need is a well-structured economic development plan to improve their skills and motivate them to be successful and productive part of the American workforce or of the business community.

Semper fidelis,


p.s. I am not an army recruiter.

You are one odd chick. 08.Apr.2003 17:14

insert name here

"the beggers should be destigmatized by being organized into a well-disciplined, highly-trained troop"
Sure, your not an army recruiter...
You have a very odd idea of dignity. I have a lot of friends who are homeless, both young and old, and they have ten times the amount dignity as a lot of people who work regular jobs where they are unfulfilled subordinates. You can be rich and not have any dignity (example: entire bush administration). You sound like you have never talked to these people. so you have no right to say what is best for them, how they feel, or what they should be doing. You know, i can also think of allot worse things than being "undignified". For one, being a heartless bitch. Or being in such denial that you can't see how backwards you are or how much you can hurt people with your words. Go back to Tara, you spoiled "dignified" bitch. I'm sure you'll find tons of Dignity, honor, gallentry and other idiotic notions that keep people repressed.

P.S. did you know that in many countries, it is considered good Karma to give money to "beggers"? they do this with the hopes they will have a higher caste in their next life, and not have to deal with the hardships (such as heartless bitches insulting them) that "beggers" do. Kind of like "there but by the grace of God". You better hope that their isn't any "next life" as i'm pretty sure just exactly where you would end up.

In this Aspect I agree with Molly 08.Apr.2003 17:57


"what I am saying is that the beggers should be destigmatized by being organized into a well-disciplined, highly-trained troop of agents for a publicly-sanctioned social service agency that will help the beggers rebuild their lives, build character, pride and dignity."

I totally agree!

The first thing they should do is march into the west hills, lake oswego and northwest and take back that which has been stolen from them by the rich fuckers who profit from this miserable society!

When they are done there, they can march downtown and show the big downtown retailers what their pride and dignity looks like!

Class war now!

Oh. My. God. 08.Apr.2003 18:01


Dear Molly (or "Molly")

Just stop - please... can't you tell you are a moron by the response to your idea?

We're wasting our energy trying to convince you otherwise. Goodbye.


Agricultural Work Camp Plan 08.Apr.2003 19:48

Molly Stanton

Another option to keep the beggers and homeless population off the street and turn them into productive workforce:

1. Establishment of agricultural labor camps in southern Clackamas county, western Washington county and in Marion County outside the Portland Metro UGB (where land prices are low).

2. Creation of a state law that would allow mandatory and automatic civil hold of those who are arrested for begging or for homelessness to such labor camps, without criminal procedure; the civil hold grants no right or entitlement for habeas corpus or for bail.

3. Allocation of a certain percentage of condominium and property transfer taxes for this purpose.

4. Agricultural camp provides free housing, free medical care and free food for all recovered beggers in return for compulsory vocational education and 50 hours of farm labor weekly.

5. Recruiters are invited to visit camps to interview and hire future graduates of the labor camps.

6. Labor camps are located far from residential areas, schools or any public facility, ensuring security and livability of the surrounding communities while allowing the State of Oregon to maintain and operate the camps without interference.

7. Agricultural products are auctioned and sold at fair market value to distributors, and part of the profits will be used for prevention of poverty and homelessness, and the remaining funds to be used for the various state programs.

You just don't get it, do you? 08.Apr.2003 20:05


Assuming this is the original Millitary Molly, blatant recruiter-

You just don't get it, do you? you haven't crawled out of your fascist shell, and it looks like your not gonna anytime soon. Just please save us your diatribes that so obviously profess your low self esteem. Look down on others to make yourself feel good if you have to. Just please go away! Oh, and we already have mexicans working those labor camps for two cents an hour. I doubt there gonna want people they might have to pay, say, the handsome price of 5 cents an hour. I suggest you go to North Korea. your ideas would likely be favoured there. But then, are military recruiters allowed to go to "the Axis Of Evil"? i know most of them never face active duty... But you ought to join, as you seem to think the Army is so fucking great.

Freedom to change 08.Apr.2003 20:45

Molly Stanton

I think there are two kinds of beggers: (1) who are just unfortunate and can be rehabilitated; (2) who are beyond hope.

The models I have proposed bring true hope and future to the first group of beggers.

The latter group, perhaps should be allowed to destroy themselves. Generally lifting the existing ban on suicide may be a good idea (by extending the Oregon assisted suicide laws) if those people are certified by competent psychologists and social workers to be unreeducatable. This way the society will not have to pay the cost of jailing them or for operating drug programs and other costly social services, while making such services guaranteed available to those who will truly benefit from them. The beggers I have encountered never seemed to have any willingness to change their behavior or to improve their own lives by taking initiatives. I suppose most of those who read this website are godless atheists who believe in the satanic religion of Darwinism. I thought Darwin taught the survival of the fittest and the natural selection process. Why even be compassionate for the unfit when we can all be better off helping those with good intentions.

None of the programs will work for those who just think the world and its taxpayers owe them a living. They'd rather love going to prison, anyway, so they'd get three hots and a cot at the cost of taxpayers. How can we rehabilitate or reeducate them in such a scenario?

My wish 08.Apr.2003 22:10

wishing upon a star

Molly, my wish for you is that you wake up in the arms of the street; hungry and alone. Keep this up and you will be there, if not in this incarnation, the next. That's the way these sort of things work. What we choose not to understand or have any empathy for becomes our lessons. Looks like you're in dire need of it. Good luck on the street. I hope that those whom you beg from are more generous, compassionate and wise than you are or you'll be one hungry HUMAN BEING.

Molly 08.Apr.2003 23:09

Robert Jackson

After reading your original post and several of your subsequent ones, I was on the point of suggesting that you procure a whip with which to fend off the unwanted and malodorous "its" you so contemptuously describe. However, your last post has made clear YOU are the one beyond redemption. In advocating your "Final Solution" for those unfortunates who are, in your opinion, "beyond hope," you have graduated from being merely a heartless and uncaring brat to rationalizing the very sort of thing that prompted the Nuremberg "Doctors Trials."

Beginning in 1939, the Nazi government implemented a policy of euthanasia. This was at first directed at the terminally ill, but was quickly expanded to those born with birth defects, the feebleminded, societal misfits, the chronically unemployed, and others deemed by Nazi authorities to be non-productive or requiring of services far exceeding their "worth" to society.

Congratulations on your graduation to this new level of monstrous sanctimony. You have joined the ranks of some of history's greatest criminals.

ha 09.Apr.2003 00:11


First off I think that your plan for panhandlers is one of the funniest things ive seen in awhile. Secondly I have a few good freinds that are homeless and they are very respectfull to the people that they panhandle off of. But when people that plainly have more money than they will ever spend in there life time refuse to look you in the face and wont even say "no" or "i don't support your lifestyle" it can get extremly frusterating. I'm sure that your saying "if its so frusterating then get a job" well these people have been trying to get jobs and would gladly take a job that they where cabable of if it was available, but it isn't.
Thats all ive got to say.

wierd ...wierd 09.Apr.2003 00:50


I know some punks who panhandle and yet live in a nice comfy home. I hate those panhandlers. They dont have problems and there only doing it to make a couple more bucks. So annoying. But then you have the vast majority of people asking for money who actually need it. Who dont have a place to stay, who dont know whethor there going to eat again. Those people do need it.
So i agree with you in some ways, people who have money shouldnt panhandle. but if you think making it into a fascist state to accomadate that, its just a tad bit fucked up.

Oh and btw. for everyone else other then molly. Can we not respond to trolls from now on? There seriously the biggest waste of time on indymedia. And if there not trolls just stupid shitheads, then what are we really going to accomplish through the internet on a thread? Were not going to educate them. There just going to waste time for us.


remember the Church Lady? 08.Jun.2003 02:36


Maybe once or twice in my life some asshole has yelled at me and asked me for money in the same interaction. Almost every time some asshole on the street has assaulted me or given me shit, they weren't asking for money. Almost every time somebody asked me for money, they weren't assaulting me or giving me shit. Other people, who are smaller and more vulnerable-looking than I am, may be having different experiences, but regardless, if you don't like panhandlers, the solution is to ignore them. If ignoring them doesn't solve the problem, then what they're doing isn't panhandling, it's something else. The only reason to mix all this shit up together is to drum up support from frightened, vulnerable people for a Put-Those-People-In-Camps program.

Just like people have different experiences dealing with people on the street, BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT, people have different experiences in the job market. Not everybody is like you. Lots of people do the best they can and still can't hold a job very long, or pay the bills more than half the time. Many of them give up after a while, because half the time isn't good enough.

And look, what the hell is so great about being "hard-working"? If you're working sixty hours a week and you're still poor, that's not admirable, that's stupid. You're a sucker, and you're part of the problem. People shouldn't have to work harder and harder just to prove to Nazis that they're still "human."

Competition always has winners and losers. It doesn't matter how "motivated" everybody is -- not everybody gets to be "successful." If below-average people are living in squalid conditions, the solution is not to "discipline" them until they're all above average, the solution is to improve the conditions.

The West Coast has been suffering a gradually worsening housing shortage for over twenty years. Why is this allowed to continue? Because it's great for housing prices, and homeowners like it a lot. When most Americans have most of their "savings" "invested" in a quarter acre of nothing with a stucco shack sitting on it, solving the housing shortage could destroy the economy.

Final Solution for panhandlers 19.Jul.2003 11:09

Bill Bigsby

I propose that the city of Portland setup a concentration camp for panhandlers and all other good for nothing, blood sucking, human street scum. In doing so we'll get rid of these indesirable sub human species and reduce population number in our state. I think Molly's arguments are valid and we need to solve this problem. So write to your congressman asking him to support this idea and provide state funding for a panhandling concentration camp.

Months later 28.Nov.2003 17:24

added fuel for thought..

I've been researching information for a paper I'm writing.It's a parody about panhandling as a type of business which could be organized and franchised. In this paper, I maintain that the revenue of the panhandling business is dependent on the individual's customer service. I also propose that panhandling fills a niche in society- that of local and easily accessible charity(drive-by philanthropy). The paper has worked in some ways but also runs the risk of sounding like Molly's note of April 2003. But, I gotta tell ya, as I interviewed people on the streets I became distressed at how much like a business panhandling really is. The people who treat their clients well, and make them feel good about giving, really do make the most money.
It's as if there are two types of panhandlers. Those that do it for the money and those that do because it they can't do anything else (for whatever reason, drugs, alchohol, life etc). As I did more research and the comparison to capitalism became even more apparent, I freaked out and stopped writing the paper. To have the rules of ecomnomics bleed into that arena, is to me profane and at best, dangerous.
Still I gotta tell ya, more than once, I talked to people who run their corners like a coffee stand, complete with regular customers and hours of operation. Gads. Maybe the answer is to form the organization Molly calls for and to use it to train people how to panhandle effectively and then let them keep their money.
Or maybe we should sell franchise rights and capitalize on poverty..isn't somebody already doing this?

who's going to read...... 14.May.2004 13:05

MJK kanyonlady@yahoo.com

Hello. While reading this article, I am wondering how pan handlers are going to get access to a computer & get to this site. Understand that these poor people are out on the streets due to lack of job skills and support from family. On contrary belief, a lot of these individuals would like to be walking in your shoes and enjoy the same quality of life as you. Instead of complaining about those who are in desparate need of food, shelter and clothing blocking your way to entryways, why don't you consider about informing them about the Union Gospel Mission @ 15 NW 3rd. For clothing needs, JOIN is an option to look into located @ 1136 se Oak. Phone # is 232-9514.
If a meal is needed, then let them know about Salvation Army @ 30 nw 2nd. # is 239-1259. Meals are served3:30 p.m. M - F. Thanks for considering the poorer population. god bless.