From, May 11, 2008

After two weeks of protesting, homeless residents camping out in front of Portland City Hall were told Saturday that they will have move. Saturday, officers arrested seven people, focusing on the city’s “Sit and Lie” Ordinance. The arrests centered on those sitting against the fence wall that surrounds city hall, and blocking the interior of the sidewalk.

Homeless people gather at City Hall to protest the City’s decision to remove them from bridge areas.

Mayor Tom Potter has asked police to enforce a city ordinance that prohibits camping in public places. After Saturday’s warning, the enforcement is scheduled to begin Tuesday.

The protest started with 15-20 people camping in front of City Hall, but that number has ballooned to more than 100. It’s that number that has the mayor concerned.

“The amount of clutter has greatly affected the ability of the public to use the sidewalk,” Potter said in a statement Saturday. “I also have an increasing concern about the safety of both the protestors and the general public.”

Potter had originally supported the protest, but said there have been numerous calls for police and medical assistance, along with sanitation concerns in and outside of city hall.

“It’s bologna,” said a protester named Jukeboxxxe, upset over the arrests. “We are having a peaceful protest and they are bringing a violent element into our peaceful protests. We have been policing ourselves.”

Homeless residents began their protest in late April. They complain the city hasn’t done enough for homeless people.

Mayor Potter said the city will connect protestors and homeless individuals with service providers who can help them find shelter or other places to go.