portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article questions portland metro

police / legal

Sit-Lie law info?

I am planning on doing a meditate-in-public thing and want to know my rights in case downtown security types harass me.
Can anyone give me specifics on the sit-lie thing and how much it is enforced? Anything I should know? One thing I am confused about is which areas downtown are truly public spaces.

Thanks!
One Man is Folly, Many Freedom 05.Feb.2006 00:11

Sol cascadiansol@hush.com

It doesn't matter any more what the law actually states. If you pose any sort of threat, physically, ideologically or socially, they'll find a way to lock you up. The only power than remains to us is within our collective efforts, our social connections, the culture and beliefs which they try to corrupt yet fail, galvanizing us instead. I would instead counsel you to organize people to join you, in this sort of effort. While the media can condemn the sanity of a single man, they must fear the many. If need be, I can help you plan this sort of thing out. Drop me a line, and I'll see what I can do.

good luck 05.Feb.2006 00:37

sit lie sucks

good luck making any sense out of the "sit-lie" law. it was ruled unconstitutional by a multnomah county judge and then the city council "revised" it, allegedly to make it pass consitutional muster.

since it was revised i have read it a couple of times, but it has never made any sense to me. since then i cannot even find the current version online. you can try searching for it at  http://www.portlandonline.com . if you do find it, please post the link or the text here.

i believe that the law is written so as to be 'enforceable' pretty much any time any cop sees someone or some group of people that they want to move from a certain area, especially if that person or group is poor or protesting something. the law requires cops to give a warning before citing or arresting people and this is a very effective way of making 'undesirable' people move. most people figure, "why get arrested or get a ticket for this shit? i'm already broke. i'll just move." moat other rules violations do not require a warning, resulting in the extreme overreaching that has become the stock-in-trade of the average asshole portland cop. (prime example, officer cox, a real jerkoff, wrote a $350 jaywalking ticket to a person attending the weekly fur protest at schumacher furs downtown. the intersection where this occurred is not even marked with crossing lights or any traffic signals. a purely political backlash by a prick masquerading as a peace officer.)

essentially, even under the most generous reading of this hunk of crap sit-lie law, you must not block the through pedestrian zone of a sidewalk within the central business core or along nw 21st and 23rd avenues. the rule has specific instructions about how much space must remain clear on a given size sidewalk. this is usually ignored by the cops. for example, a few years ago, the portland peace encampment read the (old) sit-lie rule and taped off the sidewalk to show that there was plenty of room for the encampment AND people who were using the sidewalk to pass by. this peace movement REALLY pissed off that evil witch vera katz, who put the red squad elements of the portland police bureau on the camp. they built a dossier on peace camp supporters (including photographs of supporters that were discovered during a lawsuit and videotaping supporters from the upper floor windows of city hall!) the fuzz later violently broke up the camp and brutally assaulted at least two female supporters at a bush protest in august 2003. (those bastards!!)

if you plan to do a personal protest of some kind, i would STRONGLY encourage you to read up on the latest version of the rule, if you can find it. if you obey the word and letter of the ordinance and the cops still come down on your for violating this rule of the portland business alliance, i would STRONGLY encourage you to consider NOT moving. you will probably be arrested and taken to the "justice" center jail for booking, so this is not a viable option for everyone, particularly if you have any kind of record or warrants. however, if you do decide to get arrested for violating this rule, even while NOT blocking the sidewalk, i know this is a case that the northwest constitutional rights center would take a very close look at. a lawyer working for the nwcrc, adam arms, totally shot the district attorney's office out of the water with his legal arguments on the prior sit lie rule, prompting a multnomah county judge to write a 20-page treatise on why the rule was bullshit. (the oregon supreme court later made it "official", from a legal precedent standpoint, by finding the rule unconstitutional in a separate but related case.) i am nearly certain that a strong civil defense of someone arrested under the new rule under similar would warrant a similar response. last time, the legal argument didn't even come down to a look at the facts of the arrests; the judges all found that the rule, as written, could NEVER, under ANY circumstances, be enforced without violating the constitutional rights of the person arrested.

i have heard from people more wise than myself that the new rule appears even MORE blatantly violative of the constitution, which, contrary to some reports, is still the law of this land.

think about it.