From Amy Ruiz at the Portland Mercury, May 14, 2008

As promised, the homeless protesters returned to city hall this morning. More than a dozen of them are in council chambers at the moment, waiting to offer public testimony.

Many of them are wearing small cardboard signs around their neck—affixed with yellow and pink ribbons—that say “I Don’t Know Where Else to Go.”

“We’re not going away,” protester Katie Nilson told the council this morning. “We just ask that you would care enough to listen, and do something. Do something more than you’re doing, because it’s not working. And I say ‘we’ because I represent everyone out here.” Behind her, half of the people in the full council chambers waved their arms in agreement.

“We are first and foremost citizens of the United States of America. We have a voice. We are nurses, we’re doctors, we’re lawyers, we’re carpenters, we’re Christians, we’re social workers, we’re children, we’re brothers and sisters, we’re mothers and grandmothers, and grandfathers, to name only a few. It is our human and civil right, and constitutional right, to be involved with the decision making process, which establishes laws and those who enforce the laws over us,” testifies Larry Reynolds, reading from a speech I saw him writing out in longhand this morning on the sidewalk. “The sit-lie and no camping ordinance, which have been implemented by the city and enforced by the police bureau… are a direct reflection on our human, civil and constitutional rights. If you’re going to tell us that we can’t be here, then you need to find somewhere for us to go before you tell us that. That place is not jail. We are not criminals. Although we have that problem in our community like you do in yours. We applaud your efforts, and may god bless us all in all of our decision making processes.”

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