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Greek Cuisina, Starbucks Violate Sit-Lie Ordinance

Why aren't businesses held to the same standards that homeless people are held to?
The good business-people of Portland have enacted an ordinance making it illegal to sit, lie, or obstruct sidewalk traffic in any manner. I think that's a great idea. I mean, when I wanna stroll downtown from one repository of commerce to another, I want my path clear, dammit. Fuck this idea of common, public space. I say, if you're not traveling from shop to shop with open wallet in hand, then who needs you. You're merely interfering with the real purpose of tax-funded roads and sidewalks, which is to transport your cash from one business to another.

That's why I was horrified to discover that the Downtown Deli and Greek Cuisina on 4th and Washington, as well as the Starbucks on 6th and Alder, are in direct violation of this fine ordinance. In fact, trendy cafes and microbreweries all over this town are in violation. If I wanted to go to Nordstroms -- and who after all wouldn't want to go to Nordstroms -- I would be obstructed by a little fence and fat little tables all placed right out in the sidewalk outside the Greek Cuisina. If I managed to get past that obstacle, I would be obstructed again by tables and chairs outside Starbucks. Then, I would have to pass the gauntlet of flower carts and espresso bars around Pioneer Square. Someone ought to do something about this.

I took a walk through town to see how many businesses are in violation of this ordinance, and the list is long indeed. Up on 21st and Glisan, I was not only obstructed by picnic tables placed in the sidewalk by Silver Dollar Pizza, I was actually told that I couldn't be out there with my son, a minor, because they serve alcohol in that establishment. This was on a public sidewalk, I hasten to repeat. There are many businesses like this one, where private business trumps common sidewalk, and the police state turns it's blind eye thanks to the protection money doled out by the PBA each year. I actually clocked several businesses to see how long their "nuisances" were left in place, and I found they clearly violated the letter of the ordinance, if not its intent.

I say businesses should be held to standards of decency at least as high as those they ask us to enforce against the homeless people in our city.
maybe it's time for some citizens' arrests 28.Sep.2003 18:48


From the Oregon Revised Statutes:

133.220 Who may make arrest. An arrest may be effected by:

(1) A peace officer under a warrant;

(2) A peace officer without a warrant;

(3) A private person; or

(4) A federal officer. [Amended by 1981 c.808 2]

133.225 Arrest by a private person. (1) A private person may arrest another person for any crime committed in the presence of the private person if the private person has probable cause to believe the arrested person committed the crime. A private person making such an arrest shall, without unnecessary delay, take the arrested person before a magistrate or deliver the arrested person to a peace officer.

(2) In order to make the arrest a private person may use physical force as is justifiable under ORS 161.255. [1973 c.836 74]

161.255 Use of physical force by private person making citizen's arrest. (1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a private person acting on the person's own account is justified in using physical force upon another person when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes it necessary to make an arrest or to prevent the escape from custody of an arrested person whom the person has arrested under ORS 133.225.

(2) A private person acting under the circumstances prescribed in subsection (1) of this section is justified in using deadly physical force only when the person reasonably believes it necessary for self-defense or to defend a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force. [1971 c.743 31; 1973 c.836 339]

scrapie on the rise 28.Sep.2003 19:13

a matter of time

And with scrapie on the rise in the northwest, it's just a matter of time before the Cusina is lawsuited out of existence. (Scrapie is the sheep/lamb version of mad cow disease).

No different! 28.Sep.2003 23:30


Vancouver is no different. They started up a new ordinance, also, against those who irritate others by hounding for money or whatever. There's something in it on sitting, but that has been hush-hush.

Several months ago some of us from the Green group protested in front of a local restaurant that was having a fund-raiser for Sen. Cantwell. The restaurant had tables/chairs on the sidewalk and I went to sit down. Oh no, wrong move! I couldn't sit w/o ordering--this on the sidewalk, mind you. I moved away. The restaurant took over the sidewalk. Otherwise, the protest was fine, except no one came for the event. The restaurant played music that blasted into the street, so we sort of danced. Fun practice, but whose sidewalks are they, anyway?

A Coffee In? 29.Sep.2003 14:57


I don't know if this is possible or tacticlly feasible but selecting the most busy time for the Greek Cuisina and paying a visit with mass numbers of sympathisers might be a good action. Take as much seating as possible and Just Order Coffee....and sip it very,very slowly. Relax, take up all the seating and all of the time they should be making a profit. Make sure you get a refill on that coffee....Then pay the very small bill. Tip the waiter well of course and leave. It might help if when you first enter that everyone looks "respectable" if you get my drift. And of course don't forget to leave some info behind suggesting that the owner be more respectful and responsive to homeless issues in the future....just a thought.

Another Thought 29.Sep.2003 15:58

Another Mike

Good idea, Strikeback, but perhaps a more direct approach is to have a protest during their busy time and hand out information regarding the attack on Mike D.

steerer 30.Sep.2003 03:03

in the right direction

Strikeback's idea is much sweeter and slam-dunk than Another Mike's. They don't even compare!!!!!

Obstructing the sidewalk 30.Sep.2003 08:55


I drive by Greek cuisina every night on the way to work (I work graveyard) and particularly on Saturday nights, I see the sidewalk outside the GC filled with overgrown mallrats, probably from Vancouver and Beaverton, waiting to get in. Didn't Ted Pappas bitch and whine a while back because street vendors were stealing business from him? What an arrogant fuck!

Its an old issue 30.Sep.2003 10:45


I have a friend who uses a power wheelchair and she just plows through obstructions such as cafe tables and sandwich boards when they block her ability to move down the sidewalk. Even before the new ordinance sidewalks were supposed to be always clear for accessibility (meaning a wheelchair user shouldn't have to go into the potentially dangerous street to pass by, nor should they have to ask permission to pass on a public sidewalk). In the past when I have complained about this, cafe owners swear they leave room but customers move the tables and chairs (so umm, move them back ?). While I'm on this topic, the people who park in driveways and block the sidewalk are just as annoying as these cafes.

on sidewalk obstructions 27.Jan.2004 00:20

greek godess

Lighten up... have a glass of oyzo or two.
or maybe decaf.

Time to understand exceptions 31.Mar.2004 17:18

anonymous ophie@misery.net

The statement is 100% valid. I agree that everythign in this world should be fair and balanced and equal rights should apply accross the board. But there are and will always be exceptions to every rule. A cop pulls you over for not using a turn signal. YOU: get a warning for not using your turn signal and not having insurance. The OTHER Guy: gets a ticket not only for a traffic violation, but also no proof of insurance. The difference between "YOU" and the other guy is your record. You have a clean record, maybe you've gotten a speeding ticket, but you're a typically law abiding person. The other guy however, most likely has a more lengthy record of bad driving, and maybe even a bad attitude when it comes to the law. If you were the law abiding person, you would belive that even though you screwed up this time and you deserve the special treatment. Homeless people are a variable bunch. Some mean no harm but came accross some misfortune in their life, others are a threat to the public. At a risk of generalizing a group of people, all this law has done is attempted to protect the public. While they shop, eat, take a walk... The homeless people of Portland are the other guy. Restaurants and vendors are YOU. The exceptions. When was the last time you complained about walking alone at night on SW Washington and you suddenly felt scared as you walked by a few people dining on the sidewalk? And when was the last time you walked past a Bum and felt like you should maybe cross the street like you're going somewhere else... just in case... There are exceptions to every rule. Some are justified by emotions, but that is what makes us human.

This is something to worry about? 10.Apr.2004 03:15


I can't believe that anyone is wasting their time worrying about this.