From the Oregonian, May 15, 2008

Sit/lie – Police tell homeless advocates at City Hall that camping won’t be allowed

Portland police moved homeless campers from the sidewalks outside City Hall early Thursday, but their public protest for more housing and permission to sit on sidewalks and camp on public land remained.

Mayor Tom Potter asked police to act so workers could clean the sidewalks, said his spokesman, John Doussard.

“We had campers out there for 21/2 weeks,” he said. “And it doesn’t matter where your campsite is, after 21/2 weeks it needs to be cleaned.”

Around 5:30 a.m., officers told about two dozen people — most lying on the sidewalks — to move along, said Sgt. Brian Schmautz. No one was arrested as the protesters left, Schmautz said, but about an hour later, officers arrested Andrew Newman, 20, for standing in the street and yelling at police.

Police wrapped the area in yellow tape, then cleaning crews moved in from Downtown Clean and Safe, a service that the Portland Business Association runs under city contract. Those workers used to be homeless, part of a “homeless to work” program run by the business association and Central City Concern, PBA spokeswoman Megan Doern said. The business association did the job for free, she added.

Many protesters crossed the street to Chapman Square Park, hanging out and holding up protest signs while the cleaners worked. The sidewalk opened again about 12:30 p.m. Police handed out a list of rules explaining where protesters could stand on the sidewalk and saying they could have animals and property with them in those spots for eight hours — but no more camping.

“We’re basically looking for a clean slate, so people understand it’s a protest, not camping,” Schmautz said.

Several protesters declined to comment but passed out fliers asking for “the immediate repeal of sit/lie & camping ordinances” and “affordable and safe housing in Downtown Portland.”

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