I AM HERE, AND I AM CAMPING. 17 May,2008
Early this morning, around 12:30am, 3 people were arrested in front of City Hall for violating the no camping ordinance. They were lying peacefully in the street and not resisting the orders or interfering in any way. In fact, one female camper had to be physically carried by five or six officers to the car (she had just completed an 8 hour work day, and must have been dog tired... ) They were arrested for 'Interfering with Police (IPO)' and "Unlaw" Camping. Unlaw? What is this, 1984 doublespeak? ROFL chatspeak? Come on Portland Police, it's only 3 additional letters to complete the word and make a clear determination of what, exactly, they are being charged with. Are you really that illiterate or do you just want to keep this out of the court where it belongs at this point?
These people were not interfering or resisting in any way. They were camping. They were in clear violation of Title 14A.50.020 of the Portland City Code.
Considering that there was a female individual in plain clothes who was associating with the Portland Police Bureau from the time they arrived at City Hall and refused to identify herself when asked, and was acting solely in an advisory capacity to the Police Officers, it would be a reasonable assumption that she is with the City Attorney's office or some other similar legal advisory capacity. If this is the case, then it only illustrates the cities irresponsibility and unwillingness to deal with the no camping ordinance and the sit/lie ordinance by levying charges improperly worded and/or unrelated to the laws themselves. This enforcement tactic could effectively prevent these unconstitutional ordinances from being brought before the 9th District (which has already determined similar or identical laws to be unconstitutional in a 2006 case out of San Francisco).
These numerous petitions for redress of grievances have only been met with further abuse, and unwillingness to face these pressing issues head on with the dignity, rationality, maturity and compassion which is sorely needed from our local 'leadership' to come together, work with the citizens (whom they are supposed to be serving) and bring forward equitable solutions for this local, and national crisis.