[pjw] UPDATE: Council to vote on amended protest ordinance Wed 11/14
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Fri Nov 9 19:35:14 EST 2018
PJW and PCW supporters:
Once again this is an off the cuff summary and not for wide
distribution. However the Council agenda item link and the Oregonian
article are, of course, public record.
Yesterday's marathon 3-hour-plus City Council hearing on the Mayor's
protest law led to the "emergency" ordinance being changed to a
"non-emergency," meaning Council cannot vote on it until next Wednesday,
November 14, and that is will not go into effect until 30 days after it
is passed (if it is).
Commissioner Fish-- a lawyer by trade-- admitted the had not had time to
adequately review the ordinance. He offered up a few amendments which
make reports back to the Council public record, shorten the "sunset"
clause to about 6 months instead of about 1 year, and add specific laws
for the City Attorney to examine. This does not, however, take away the
gist of the ordinance which still says the Police Commissioner (Mayor)
can decide if two groups are likely to engage in violence, then tell
them when and where they can protest, and how many people can be there--
and if they disobey they face criminal sanctions (!!). Before the public
part of the hearing started, the Mayor noted a few other amendments
which made things slightly less bad: one took away the specific
threatened sanctions (6 months in jail and $500 fine), and another said
the three criteria about the "fighting groups" had to all be present,
rather than any one of the three, for the law to kick in. The City
Attorney even seemed confused, as the Mayor said this would not apply to
permitted protests, but indeed if a non-permitted group decides to
counter-demonstrate against a permitted group, "the permit will be taken
into consideration" but the rules still apply.
The ACLU said they do not think this can be fixed. The National Lawyers
Guild was also invited to speak and talked about the unconstitutional
nature of the law and how it is playing into the far-right's hands to
take away civil liberties and increase police authority.
Commissioner-elect Jo Ann Hardesty was able to express her opposition
and asked the Council to slow down so she could be part of a solution in
the new year (her term starts Jan. 1).
Commissioner Eudaly voted yes on the amendments as a courtesy but
clearly stated she was a no vote on the ordinance. She spoke repeatedly
about the need to stand up to bigotry and hate.
As noted in the Oregonian article below, dozens of people told the
Council not to pass the ordinance (although one or two either blamed
Antifa for street fighting or didn't really address the issue on the
The three invited panelists in favor were from the Portland Business
Alliance, Travel Portland, and State Representative Janelle Bynum. It's
not clear why Bynum specifically was there but she suggested that if
they need to change the laws or the constitution (!!!) the Legislature
could help. As for the PBA and Travel Portland, it seems they are
worried about the "brand" of Portland being damaged by the street
brawls, though they express zero concern about the police brutality
against peaceful protestors that nearly killed two people, not to
mention the rash of shootings and ongoing PPB malfeasance.
We handed out stickers that said "Protest is not a crime." You can see
several people wearing them in the O's photo gallery here:
It seems that Commissioners Fish and Fritz might also vote yes on the
amended ordinance (Saltzman is hopelessly pro-authority) and may need to
hear from more people between now and Wednesday. There is no testimony
taken on a second reading, so the best we can do is show up again and
make them look the public in the face as they vote. The time will likely
be around 10:20 AM as there are two "times certain" before that.
The link to the amended ordinance is here:
Just thinking this through, even if Commissioner Hardesty helps get
Eudaly three votes to overturn the law in January, the repeal, I think,
would also take 30 days to kick in after a second reading so potentially
the law could be in place from December 14 to February 8. (Unless they
can get a unanimous vote to make it an emergency ordinance.) What this
means is that peaceful protestors whose rights are curbed in that time
will have to either challenge the Mayor's orders before the protests
happen-- which will take a lot of resources and likely have to be done
very quickly-- or sue after the fact, which also is no walk in the park.
It seemed to me that the City Attorney and Mayor were basically saying
"sure, maybe it is constitutional, so what are you going to do, sue us?"
knowing full well that they can unlawfully crack down on people until a
challenge comes in. At that point, the police and city repression will
have already occurred so there will be no adequate remedy without a time
OK, enough for now, here's the Oregonian article. We did get a few
emails from folks who said they wrote in earlier this week, let us know
if you send anything in this time.
peace and justice works/portland copwatch
PS sorry for duplication to people who are on both lists.
Portland City Council mulls new protest limits, to activists' fury
Updated November 8, 2018 at 7:46 PM; Posted November 8, 2018 at 6:24 PM
By Gordon R. Friedman
gfriedman at oregonian.com
The Portland City Council heard testimony Thursday on an ordinance that
would give Mayor Ted Wheeler vast new powers to regulate protests, an
idea that dozens of residents told city officials is wrongheaded.
Wheeler said frequent protests that predictably erupt into brawling
fistfights between demonstrators have driven him and Police Chief
Danielle Outlaw to seek the new restrictions.
Those protests are bad for Portland's brand and affect business and
tourism, the mayor said. Moreover, he said they are dangerous for
attendees and police officers who attempt to keep the peace.
"I have watched with increasing dismay what's unfolding on our
streets," Wheeler said, calling his proposal a way to "provide one more
tool along with enforcing existing laws."
If enacted, it would allow him to dictate, for example, where and when
certain groups could rally.
Outlaw said her Police Bureau has had no choice but to react to
violence at demonstrations after the fact, rather than to prevent it.
"The community is fed up," she added.
It's unclear if Wheeler and Outlaw have enough support from council
members to enact the proposal, and the mayor and city commissioners did
not vote on it Thursday.
Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Chloe Eudaly have said they will vote
no, while Commissioner Dan Saltzman has said he will vote yes.
Commissioner Nick Fish, the swing vote, has said he is undecided and
did not indicate his stance Thursday.
If adopted, the new limits would allow Wheeler, who is the police
commissioner, to set the conditions for public gatherings. He could do
so only if three conditions are met: If a group that wants to protest
has a history of violence, the safety of participants or bystanders is
at risk and there is a substantial probability of violence at the
That kind of regulation may not pass constitutional muster, two
law professors who are free expression scholars told The
Oregonian/OregonLive after reviewing the text of Wheeler's proposal.
Kimberly McCullough, policy director of the American Civil Liberties
Union office in Oregon, told the council her organization believes the
ordinance is vague, does too much to limit free speech and vests
unnecessary power in the mayor.
"With these kinds of regulations, the devil is in the details, and the
details are incredibly problematic here," McCullough said.
Wheeler has said he believes the proposal is legal, but acknowledged it
would all but certainly be challenged in court.
Almost no one spoke in favor of the mayor's proposal except Andrew
Hoan, the Portland chamber of commerce president, and state Rep.
Janelle Bynum, a Democrat who represents parts of east Portland.
Instead, dozens of residents, each afforded two-minute slots to
testify, delivered critiques of city police officers' behavior at
protests as the chief and her deputies sat feet away.
They accused police leaders of bias in favor of right-wing groups and
using unnecessary force against peaceful demonstrators. Instead of
creating new regulations, the police should enforce existing laws
intended to stop bad actors, they said.
Eudaly sided with those speakers, and peppered Outlaw and her top
advisors, Deputy Chief Bob Day and Assistant Chief Ryan Lee, with
question after question about their officers' conduct during protests.
The officers mostly did not answer Eudaly, citing pending lawsuits,
audits and internal reviews against their Police Bureau.
More information about the pjw-list