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

animal rights | police / legal

Police Corruption Case Study: Arrest the Latest in Months of Bluehour/PPB Opression

Is the two-foot area on the street next to walls (often blocked by vehicles) in the Pearl warehouse district the only legal public walkway? Is to illegal to use a rolled up piece of paper or plastic to speak through if you can be heard within 100 feet? Should the First Amendment be curtailed if it is simply inconvenient to a business? Should 6-10 officers not direct their attention toward violent crime (in progress or unsolved) on a Saturday night? Are these tactics symptoms of a larger failure by the PPB to consider the rights of citizens equally to those of business?
Bluehour restaurant serves Foie Gras, a paté made of grossly enlarged, diseased goose or duck livers that can only be produced by means of horrible torture.

Foie Gras production is an intolerable cruelty. PDX animal rights activists have been waging a campaign to rid our city of this diseased food since early 2008. So far, 3 restaurants have removed Foie Gras from their menus.

Local animal rights activists first approached the owners of Bluehour months ago. Their plea was for Bluehour restaurant to replace Foie Gras with menu items that were not produced under such cruel conditions. Given that Foie Gras is one of the most torturous and deadly forms of factory farming, this is a goal that many omnivores and vegans can agree with.

Bluehour's initial response has been to ignore these requests. In the past four months, Bluehour has given drunk hecklers raw meat to throw at the activists and free Foie Gras to taunt the activists with. Bluehour management has even hired a man who assaulted several demonstrators. Their staff has been openly hostile, valets have attempted to listen in on conversations of activists, park cars where activists are standing, and use customer's vehicles to purposely block off the activists (often at the risk of damaging the expensive vehicles). Bluehour management has also been spotted laughing as hecklers throw objects and alcoholic beverages at demonstrators.

Within seconds of activists holding signs outside of their restaurant, the management always places white partitions and drapes in front of the windows. Their next step is to call the PPB.

All of this from a restaurant that proclaims at every opportunity (even within an anti-AR handout that they distribute to patrons) that they love the activists showing up because the demonstrations increase sales.

Up until recently, the police have had little involvement with the activists. They have merely observed and asked that the activists to not block the sidewalk or entrance (which they were not). The police then had long conversations with Bluehour management, who at first appear concerned, and then laughing along with the police after a few minutes as they both watch the demonstrators with bemusement.

Times have changed. Over the last month, the police have been enforcing every ordinance that they can find in their little books, and even making up new ones.

About a month ago, a city attorney was on hand (how many times have you gotten the attention of the city attorney's office when you needed a grievance settled?) to observe and advise the police officers on which obscure ordinances they can arrest the demonstrators for.

One area of confusion (for activists and police alike) has been the public walkway. The area around NW 13th and Everett is a converted warehouse district where the sidewalks run right up to dock areas. Pedestrians either walk in the street or on the dock areas. These dock areas connect several businesses and are quite obviously public property. Bluehour uses this area as a balcony. The PPB has been telling demonstrators that they cannot travel in these areas (even though other pedestrians use them freely without police interaction). Demonstrators have also been told that they cannot demonstrate in the street. When Bluehour valets park cars by the demonstrators, they yell at them, honk their horn to move (so that they can strategically park their customers' BMWs and Mercedes in a fashion that makes it impossible for activists to stand), and have even been known to "bump" the pedestrian activists as the PPB admonishes the pedestrian activist and not the driver. When confronted about the fact that pedestrians all over this district walk on the balcony/sidewalks, the police shrug their shoulders. Once, for a few minutes after being questioned as to why the PPB were not threatening everyone who walks in the street, they actually made a few half-hearted attempts to tell the passers-by that they were not allowed to walk off the sidewalks.

Saturday, (09/06/2008) there were about 8 officers on hand (1:1 ratio to peaceful, lawful, unarmed demonstrators). A few officers approached Mike D, who was using a small plastic toy cone, and warned him that the cone was illegal. Mike countered that the device itself produced no sound and was a simple plastic cone. The officers insisted, and Mike challenged them on the topic once more. The officers said that they would not arrest him on that offense and asked him to stop using it.

Next, a conversation ensued between the officers and several of the demonstrators. The officers once more had no clear legal information on where the public walkway was. The officers assumed a very casual "buddy" attitude and tone toward the demonstrators as they took up Bluehour's talking points. They told the demonstrators that Bluehour actually likes activists showing up and that they are not there for Bluehour (even though Bluehour calls them and consults with them for long periods of time). The officers said that they were only responding to nearby residents who wanted to protect their sleeping children from the noise.

Next, the officers tried to convince the activists that their signs were effective enough and questioned the validity of their tactics (because this is the job of a public officer?) by saying that Bluehour's sales were not affected, and that no matter how loud the demonstration was, it was inaudible inside of Bluehour's glass doors. This begs the question of how the sleeping children hundreds or thousands of feet away are disturbed by the demonstrators?

The police concluded by asking the demonstrators to just be decent people and consider others. One demonstrator (Johnson) countered that the issue of resident complaints was likely due to poor city planning, gentrification, and the fact that residences that were positioned on top of restaurants and bars. A second point was made that there were likely many times during now popular movements, such as the civil rights movement, when residents were inconvenienced by the first amendment.

Throughout the night, the officers were seen making calls (likely to superiors and the city attorney) to determine exactly what crime they could charge the activists with.

As the demonstration went forward, a few demonstrators (Mike D, Johnson, and Johnson) walked across the balcony/sidewalk. Mike D was at once detained by the now blue-gloved officers and placed under arrest. Other activists asked the name of the arresting officer, the police replied coyly "We all are". When asked which jail Mike was being taken to, they replied "There is only one".

Mike D was arrested for using a sound producing device that was audible over 100 feet (this is a highly unscientific qualification, one can hear a pin drop from that distance under the right circumstances). The cone itself of course produces no sound of its own, is not an electronic amplification device, and does not make a person's voice louder than it is naturally.

Immediately after Mike was taken away in a cruiser, the officers went around admonishing the demonstrators to not step on the balcony/sidewalk.

This was quite curious, why was a demonstrator arrested for using a toy that he was previously told he would not be arrested for using? Why were the officers now admonishing activists to not stand on the balcony/sidewalk?

The situation now became more curious as officers stood on the balcony/sidewalk guarding against the demonstrators entering, while passers-by walked past unmolested. Over the next 15 minutes, an independent film maker stood filming next to several of the officers on the balcony (in a position that certainly would have resulted in an arrest for one of the activists).

The activists concluded that the officers and city attorney do want wish to actually have to enforce the balcony/sidewalk as private property, because in fact, it is not.

The ramifications of a ruling in this matter could change the dynamic of demonstrations dramatically.

The ramifications of Mike D's arrest are unclear. Are citizens now disallowed from using a rolled-up piece of paper or any other conical device near their mouths if their speech can be heard 100 feet away?

These events may seem minor compared to the grand spectacle of police brutality at the 2008 RNC, or the overall intimidation of activists by federal agencies (see greenisthenewred.com), but they represent a continuing failure of law enforcement to "protect and serve" citizenry.

When officers are acting in ways that are meant to intimidate demonstrators, when they have to scour field ordinance handbooks at length and consult the city attorney's office to find possible infractions, it is clear that the focus is not on law enforcement.

There are serious crimes occurring in Portland on any given Saturday night, and the victims of those crimes are being slighted by a police force that is instead giving an inordinate amount of resources to intimidation of those who are exercising their First Amendment rights.

Demonstrations against Foie Gras cruelty are held weekly at Bluehour. All who are concerned with ending cruelty towards animals, protection of the Constitution, and having city officials serve citizens are urged to attend.


Bluehour
250 NW 13th Ave
503-226-3394
 info@bluehouronline.com
bluehouronline.com

Speaking as a nearby resident 08.Sep.2008 08:26

NW portland

As one of the "nearby residents," I can tell you guys that I and every, single one of my neighbors, applaud your actions. We are appalled by the fact that Blue Hour is serving something as unnecessarily cruel as foie gras. I, for one, will NEVER eat there. If the police think they are acting on my behalf, they can think again. They are acting on behalf of an unwelcome business owner who has chosen to act in a manner that is contrary to local standards.

Please do remember, as you continue your demonstrations, that James Chasse was beaten to death in the doorway of this very restaurant by police two years ago, almost to the day.

questioning authority 08.Sep.2008 10:14

pissed off

upon reading the original post regarding mike d's arrest i contacted the justice center jail to see if he was or had been in custody, they said he had not been there since march. did i call the wrong facility or were they lying? who was 'mistaken' me or them? i will pursue this if they gave me false information.

Next demonstration this Saturday at 7PM at Blue Hour (NW 13th & Everett) 08.Sep.2008 10:19

Concerned Goose

The next demonstration will be held this Saturday at 7PM at Blue Hour (NW 13th & Everett), with a pre-demo solidarity meeting at 6:30 at NW 10th & Davis.


A few notes on the article:


- The area that the police are telling activists is the public walkway and that they MUST stand is within the white stripe that runs along the dock/sidewalk areas. Cars and signs are in this area, you must walk out of it to pass another person, and a wheelchair would never fit within it.


- The valets have actually followed the activists trying to listen in on them, and then go report what they hear to the police - even though the activists have committed - and have not even spoken of any crimes. They have also tried to intimidate activists by filming them while taunting them. The person who assaulted several activists still works as a valet at Blue Hour.


- The officers actually told Mike D that he would not be charged for using the the plastic cone and then arrested him for it when he used it several minutes later.


- Apologies for any typos!

why? 08.Sep.2008 10:49

p'oed

just checked again with central precinct,the jail and records and still nothing showing up concerning mike d's arrest.has he been released?

Next demonstration will be held this Saturday at 7PM at Blue Hour 08.Sep.2008 17:14

PDXJPH

The next demonstration will be held this Saturday at 7PM at Blue Hour (NW 13th & Everett), with a pre-demo solidarity meeting at 6:30 at NW 10th & Davis.


A few notes on the article:


- The area that the police are telling activists is the public walkway and that they MUST stand is within the white stripe that runs along the dock/sidewalk areas. Cars and signs are in this area, you must walk out of it to pass another person, and a wheelchair would never fit within it.


- The valets have actually followed the activists trying to listen in on them, and then go report what they hear to the police - even though the activists have committed - and have not even spoken of any crimes. They have also tried to intimidate activists by filming them while taunting them. The person who assaulted several activists still works as a valet at Blue Hour.


- The officers actually told Mike D that he would not be charged for using the the plastic cone and then arrested him for it when he used it several minutes later.

Mike D is now free 08.Sep.2008 18:05

Concerned Goose

Thanks for the concern, Mike is out.

Personally - As far as all of the suggestions (from police and others) to be quiet or just stay off the streets and make internet content....

If we were rioting, people would tell us to lead lawful demonstrations.

Which we do now.

And if we were to not vocalize, people would politely suggest that we make less offensive signs.

And if we were to make more 'polite' signs, people would suggest that we just make movies or literature, etc...

You can well imagine that the end game of this would be nothing short of "can't you just keep your difference of opinion and thoughts to yourself altogether?"

No thanks, but thanks for the suggestions :-)

And 08.Sep.2008 18:10

Concerned Goose

And this is not to say that I oppose diplomacy, PR, or legal avenues.

Simply to say that demonstrations have a place and are a very healthy civic exercise.

? 4 mike d 09.Sep.2008 09:51

*

mike d
no one has answered the question as to why,when contacted,various departments denied you were arrested or in custody.where were you being held and for how long?would like to follow up on this with rosie and tom's office but need a little more information to go on.please help me out here.glad you are out.

City Zoning Law 11.Sep.2008 09:28

Jesse Doe

City Zoning Law Corroborate that Bluehour's 'patio' is a sidewalk safe & on public right-of-way. I took all this info from the City Code & Charter for Public Improvements. I have also talked with City Representatives at Street Systems Management, who confirmed the 13th ave blocks to have raised sidewalks (public pedestrian right-of-way). When the police arrested Mike, they also lied that they could legally arrest anyone else who trespassed on Bluehour's "Private Property". It was a threat tactic, hoping to scare us out of using public space in a way threatening to those who would sell and/or consume animal cruelty. I would not recommend standing with signs in front of the window (loitering), but sidewalks are used for walking and marching back and forth is a perfectly legal (and generally accepted) technique.


Below are pertinent copies. You can also gain access to all this and more at the City Website (Info below came from these two)
< http://www.portlandonline.com/Auditor/index.cfm?c=28854>
< http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?a=82681&c=38718>


Sidewalk Café Permits - Printable Version

A sidewalk café is defined as a permitted area within the public right-of-way consisting of tables and chairs where patrons may be served food and/or beverages from an adjacent café or restaurant. The permit fee is $10 per calendar year. Sidewalk cafes typically consist of tables and chairs arranged in a single row on the sidewalk.  City Code states that it is unlawful for any person to operate a sidewalk café on any public street or sidewalk within the City of Portland without first obtaining a valid permit from the City Engineer. The area to be considered must:
Be directly adjacent to a café or restaurant
Have 10-12 foot sidewalk width or greater
Provide a clear pedestrian passageway of at least 6 feet (8 feet on the bus mall and high pedestrian areas )
The sidewalk café operator shall:
Ensure that the sidewalk café does not interfere with pedestrians or limits their free and unobstructed passage
Keep the area around the café clean
Remove tables, planters, fences, chairs, carpet, etc. from the public sidewalk area at night and when not in use
Provide trash containers for use by café patrons if throw-away utensils, cups, and plates, etc. are used.
Sidewalk Cafés are covered in section 17.25 of City Code.
 
An information/application packet is available online or at 1120 SW 5th Avenue, Rm 800.
(Portland Building) Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday - Friday.
 
How to Contact Us:
    Contact:
Street Systems Management
    Phone:
(503) 823-7002  Option 5



17.25.010 Permit Required.
Operating a sidewalk cafe on City sidewalks is unlawful without a permit. No person shall conduct a business as herein defined without first obtaining a permit from the Office of the City Engineer and paying the fee therefor to the City Treasurer. It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a sidewalk cafe on any sidewalk within the City of Portland except as provided by this Chapter.

17.25.020 Definitions.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177028, effective December 14, 2002.)
A. Operate a sidewalk cafe. Operate a sidewalk cafe means serving food or beverage from an adjacent cafe or restaurant to patrons seated at tables located within the sidewalk area adjacent to the cafe or restaurant.
B. Sidewalk. Sidewalk means that portion of the street between the curb lines or the lateral lines of roadway and the adjacent property lines intended for use by pedestrians.
C. Commercial zone. Commercial zone means abutting property which is zoned C, Commercial, or E, Employment pursuant to Title 33, Planning and Zoning of this Code or any other zone which may be created as a successor zone to such existing commercial zones.
D. Mall area. Mall area means that area bounded by SW Broadway on the west, NW Irving on the north, SW Fourth Avenue on the east, and SW Madison Street on the south, but not including the street and sidewalk areas of SW Broadway and SW Fourth Avenue.

17.25.030 Permit Fee.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177028, effective December 14, 2002.) Fees for operating a sidewalk café are established by the City Engineer. Fees are assessed as prescribed in Section 17.24.010.

17.25.040 Permit Application.
Application for a permit to operate a sidewalk cafe shall be made at the office of the City Engineer in a form deemed appropriate by the City Engineer. Such application shall include, but not be limited to, the following information:
A. Name and address of the applicant.
B. The expiration date of applicant's business license.
C. A drawing showing the width of the applicant's cafe or restaurant facing the sidewalk area requested to be used, location of doorways, width of sidewalk (distance from curb to building face), location of trees, parking meters, bus shelter, sidewalk benches, tree or trash receptacles, or any other semi-permanent sidewalk obstruction.
D. A drawing showing the area requested for use as a sidewalk cafe with the table locations together with the area which will be occupied by the table and accompanying chairs, location and size of any features used to delineate the area such as portable planters, etc.
E. A color rendition in perspective for review by the Bureau of Planning shall be furnished upon request by the City Engineer.
F. A letter signed by the property owner, consenting to a sidewalk cafe adjacent to the property on which the restaurant is located.

17.25.050 Permit Requirements.
No person shall operate any restaurant or cafe, to provide food or alcoholic liquor, on any public street or sidewalk unless such person has obtained a valid permit, to operate that business in such a manner, pursuant to this Chapter.

17.25.060 Location Rules and Review.
The applicant will be guided by the following in the drawing required in Section 17.25.040 D:
A. The area to be considered must have combination sidewalks which are 12 feet in width or greater.
B. Sidewalk cafes proposed for areas which have a high density of pedestrian usage will be located such that there is a clear passageway of at least 6 feet.
C. Requests for sidewalk cafe permits within the "Mall area" will be considered only in the area adjacent to the curb and does not have bus loading or unloading areas.
D. The approved location shall be established by the City Engineer.
17.25.080 Form and Conditions of Permit.
The permit issued shall be in a form deemed suitable by the City Engineer. In addition to naming the permittee and other information deemed appropriate by the City Engineer, the permit shall contain the following conditions:
A. Each permit issued shall terminate December 31st of the year in which issued.
B. The permit issued shall be personal to the permittee only and is not transferable in any manner.
C. The permit may be suspended by the City Engineer when an ordinance providing for a "community event" shall so provide.
D. The permit is specifically limited in the area shown on the "Exhibit" prepared by the City Engineer and attached or made part of the permit.
E. The permittee shall use positive action to assure that its use of the sidewalk in no way interferes with or embarrasses sidewalk users or limits their free and unobstructed passage.
F. The sidewalk and all things placed thereon shall at all times be maintained in a clean and attractive condition; and at such times that the permittee is not utilizing the sidewalk as authorized, all things shall be removed therefrom. If throwaway utensils, cups, and plates, etc., are used, trash containers will be provided on site for use by the cafe patrons.
G. The permittee shall notify the City Engineer when operation of the sidewalk cafe begins.

17.25.090 Denial, Revocation or Suspension of Permit.
A. The City Engineer may deny, revoke, or suspend the permit for any sidewalk cafe authorized in the City of Portland if it is found:
1. That the provisions of this Chapter have been violated.
2. Any necessary health permit has been suspended, revoked, or canceled;
3. The permittee does not have insurance which is correct and effective in the minimum amount prescribed in Section 17.25.070.
B. Upon denial or revocation, the City Engineer shall give notice of such action to the applicant or permittee in writing stating the action which has been taken and the reason therefor. If the action of the City Engineer is based upon Subsection A 2 and 3 of this Section, the action shall be effective upon giving such notice to the permittee, otherwise, such notice shall become effective within 10 days unless appealed to the City Council by filing a written notice of appeal with the City Auditor. Any revocation effective immediately may also be appealed to the Council by such filing within 10 days.


New Chapter substituted by Ordinance No. 167684, effective May 18, 1994.)

17.28.010 Sidewalk Defined.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 177028, effective December 14, 2002.) A "sidewalk" means the portion of the street intended for the use of pedestrians. Unless the street area has been designated as a pedestrian mall, or unless the entire street has been designated primarily for pedestrian use, for the purpose of this Chapter, "sidewalk" is that part of a street on the side there of intended for the use of pedestrians, improved by surfacing.

17.28.015 Owner Defined.
"Owner" means the owner of the real property or the contract purchaser of real property of record as shown on the last available assessment roll in the office of the county assessor.

17.28.020 Responsibility for Sidewalks and Curbs.
A. The owner(s) of land abutting any street in the City shall be responsible for constructing, reconstructing, maintaining and repairing the sidewalks, curbs, driveways and parking strips abutting or immediately adjacent to said land, except as provided in Subsection B. Said property owner(s) shall be liable for any and all damages to any person who is injured or otherwise suffers damage resulting from the defective condition of any sidewalk, curb, driveway or parking strip adjacent to said land, or by reason of the property owner's failure to keep such sidewalk, curb, driveway or parking strip in safe condition and good repair. Said property owner(s) shall be liable to the City of Portland for any amounts which may be paid or incurred by the City by reason of all claims, judgment or settlement, and for all reasonable costs of defense, including investigation costs and Attorney fees, by reason of said property owners' failure to satisfy the obligations imposed by the Charter and Code of the City of Portland to maintain, construct, and repair such sidewalks, curbs, driveways and/or parking strips.
B. Curbs shall be maintained by the City, except when in combination with the sidewalk and when they have been willfully damaged. Intersection corners and curbs adjacent thereto may be installed by the City when sidewalks and curbs are constructed up to the intersection on the same side of the street.
C. The City Engineer shall maintain general construction and maintenance specifications for sidewalks, curbs, driveways and/or parking strips. The City Engineer shall use the specifications to determine compliance with this Chapter of Code. The City Engineer shall provide copies of the specification to any person upon request, and make the specifications available for public inspection during normal office hours.
17.28.060 Location, Size and Materials of Sidewalks and Curbs.
The City Engineer shall determine the distance between the improved sidewalk and the property line, which, in residential areas shall generally be 2 feet unless a different distance is specified. The width of the improved sidewalks, the grade thereof, materials for construction or reconstruction, and the location and size of curbs, shall be designated by the City Engineer. The class and kind of any fill materials and requirement thereof shall be designated by the City Engineer. If the City Engineer finds a temporary sidewalk to be necessary, he may permit installation thereof for a specified period in accordance with specifications he designated.