Saturday, October 15, 2011

More Portland Crony Government

Peter Korn of the Portland Tribune notes the different treatment of Occupy Portland protesters and compliant city officials with that accorded to a private downtown land owner when both were violating the same ordinance (and city officials and Occupy Portland were violating two additional ordinances as well).

After the Portland Tribune reported that the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) had sent a camping violation letter to a private land owner but not to Occupy Portland protesters, BDS finally sent the public land owner in violation of the same ordinance a letter warning the Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation about changes in usage to allow camping at Chapman and Lownsdale Squares.
"On Wednesday, the bureau of development services sent a similar letter to Michael Wright, owner of the vacant lot next to the Chinatown Gate on Northwest Burnside Street. Wright has leased his property to a group that set up a Dignity Village-like camp for homeless people. A story in Thursday’s Tribune noted that the Burnside Street homeless camp had been notified of potential violations but the Occupy Portland camp had not.
[emphasis added]
Korn continues:
"The complaints about the Occupy Portland site could force the bureau to examine three primary issues, [Mike] Liefeld [BDS enforcement program manager] said. The two city parks are zoned for open space, which appears to be disrupted by the tents. Overnight camping could be a second violation, since, like the West Burnside Street property being used by homeless campers, the park is not zoned for campground use, though the city’s anti-camping ordinance is being challenged in a three-year-old lawsuit in federal court. And, one of the complaints to the bureau involved late-night drumming from the Occupy Portland campground, which potentially could violate city noise ordinances."
[emphasis added]
Korn notes that while Wright was given ten days to respond, no deadline was given to the Park Bureau.

BDS is having a hard time sorting out how to handle public officials who violate the law:
"All of those [ordinance violations on city property] represent an unusual, possibly unique mess for bureau of development staff to wade through even as [Mayor Sam] Adams has allowed the protestors to remain encamped.

“'We’re trying to figure out how the codes would apply to this situation,' Liefeld said."
[emphasis added]
How to "apply" pretty basic laws to public officials and their favorites appears to be a real head scratcher in Portland.


MAX Redline said...

Spooky - I did a note along these lines some hours ago; I think you raised some better points. Note to self - cook or blog. Multi-tasking only goes so far.

The fish&chips dinner came out well; the blog-note was somewhat underdone.

T. D. said...

You're being too hard on yourself, MaxR. You made the same points and added the one about Mayor Adams telling the whopper that hundreds of other cities were dealing with the Occupy movement and having problems similar to his own in knowing how to balance law breaking with free speech. A whopper, as you point out, in terms of the "hundreds" of other cities line. Not to mention the fact that Adams and the city aren't similarly perplexed and agonizing over how to deal with the homeless campers. Only the lawlessness of the favored group is perplexing.