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BREAKING NEWS: Sit-Lie In at City Hall Growing Rapidly

A Sit-In protest at City Hall that began at 12pm Friday is growing rapidly, according to a caller from the patio and sidewalk on the 4th Avenue side of the building. At 12:45 pm, over 70 people had gathered there to protest a new enforcement regime of Portland's despised 'Obstructions as Nuisance', or 'Sit-Lie', law.
City officials, most notably Mayor Vera Katz and Deputy City Attorney David Woboril, rewrote portions of the rule without public input and the police began strong-arm enforcement of the new provisions on Wednesday morning, starting with the physical removal of the Portland Peace Encampment that has occupied sidewalk space across the street from City Hall since March 20. Police have been enforcing the new rules aggressively in other parts of the downtown core as well, alarming many victims and obervers with their tactics.

After being forced to leave the sidewalk or be arrested, peace campers briefly moved to a park one block down 4th Avenue before regrouping directly in front of City Hall. At least one police officer, and frequently several more, has been permanently stationed there since Wednesday to observe the campers and collect notes on their supporters. Several campers slept on the patio of City Hall Wednesday night, but were prevented from doing so by police overnight Thursday.

'Clearly this targets the homeless, mentally ill, street kids and protestors,' National Lawyers Guild attorney Alan Graf wrote in a Thursday email announcing Friday's Sit-In, referring to the Sit-Lie rule. Graf wrote that he would sit down in front of City Hall at 12pm Friday and invited everyone opposed to the law to join. 'I am prepared to get arrested. We can't take this "standing up"', he wrote.

The caller from the sit-in currently taking place there said that City Attorney Woboril has called the protest an 'expressive event', meaning under the new rules that the protest has a limit of 8 hours before police can be unleashed on those demonstrating for the repeal of the sit-lie rule. The protest is expected to grow throughout the afternoon as word makes its way around the city. The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, or PPRC, will hold its regular 5pm march from Pioneer Square, likely pausing at City Hall in solidarity with the protest taking place there.
Shredding Our Constitution 15.Aug.2003 14:27

Maybe a patriotic acting lesson

Vera, Kroker, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, and Bush. What do they have in common?

Could be, as Richard Pryor once said regarding the future of African Americans in the sci-fi movie Logans Run where there are no African American actors or actresses, "We ain't supposed to be here."

Maybe a patriotic acting lesson

To Participate... 15.Aug.2003 14:51


Simply show up at city hall, sit or nap for LESS than 8 hours, then give up your space to the next folks to arrive.

Voila! Perpetual protest!

It won't work that way. 15.Aug.2003 15:14


The guidlines specify that they can enforce if the event itself has gone more than eight hours. So unfortunately it doesn't matter if the person being cited has been at the event for less than eight hours.

Street musicians are exempt! 15.Aug.2003 15:40

noiz boiz

Street musicians are exempt. Get everyone a kazoo and you got Vera by the balls.

read this:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/08/269838.shtml

Stop then start 15.Aug.2003 15:47


Ok, then stop the event by leaving for one-half hour, then resume. Does the law say how much time of nothing happening is a non-event?

Here's the law 15.Aug.2003 15:59

for what its worth

Here is the enforcement guideline for enforcement of the Obstructions as Nuisances ordinance that the police say they will use:

"......3. Members shall not enforce PCC 14A.50.030 (the sit/lie ordinance) against:
a. A person standing in a through pedestrian zone as part of a crowd that has formed to participate
in or observe and expressive event unless the event has lasted more than eight hours;....."

Here is the link to the Portland police bureau powerpoint presentation on the enforcement of Obstructions as Nuisances:


Here is the Portland City Code:
14A.50.030 Obstructions as Nuisances.

"A. Unless specifically authorized by ordinance, it is unlawful for any person to obstruct any street or sidewalk, or any part thereof, or to place or cause to be placed, or permit to remain thereon, anything that obstructs or interferes with the normal flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, or that is in violation of parking lane, zone or meter regulations for motor vehicles. Such an obstruction hereby is declared to be a public nuisance. The City Engineer, the City Traffic Engineer, or the Chief of Police may summarily abate any such obstruction or the obstruction may be abated as set forth in Chapter 29.20.

B. The provisions of this Section do not apply to merchandise in course of receipt or delivery, unless that merchandise is permitted to remain upon a street or sidewalk for a period longer than 2 hours. The vehicle in which merchandise is delivered is subject to all parking regulations as described in Title 16. "

no, get them to arrest you 15.Aug.2003 16:04


why has the city not arrested anyone for sit/lie? because they know it's unconstitutional and would be overturned in a heartbeat. so instead, they wield it for the fear factor it produces, but they will never arrest you for it. instead, they arrest you for "disobeying a police officer."

get them to arrest you for sit/lie. then we'll cream them in court.

Section B 16.Aug.2003 06:56


Ah yes....the Meier & Frank Exception.

I used to work at a building at 6th and Alder, and had to go by their loading dock every day - the sidewalk was ALWAYS obstructed by dumpsters, merchandise, boxes, and other debris. They were more of a nuisance than any street person could ever be.

I guess it's OK to block the sidewalk if you're a PBA member....