Thank You Michael Dembrow- Why I Voted NO on HB 2963

Posted: April 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

Why I Voted No on HB 2963

It’s rare that I vote no on a bill that comes out of committee 9-0, but it happened last week. The bill was HB 2963, which would allow local jurisdictions to expand their regulation of sidewalk use. This is an issue that is wrapped up in the question of how we deal with the homeless individuals who live in our cities. It was brought tous by the Portland Business Association. I partner with the PBA on many education and workforce issues, but on this one we’re not aligned.

As I researched the issue, I saw a number of letters from downtown businesses with legitimate complaints about individuals congregating outside their shops or offices. On the other hand, I am concerned about potential discrimination against the homeless. I want to make sure that any local ordinances are fair and balanced to the greatest extent possible. HB 2963 does not guarantee this. In fact, we received a letter from the Oregon Law Center, which caused me a great deal of concern about the bill.

Furthermore, I saw no evidence of support for this bill from the City of Portland or from the League of Oregon Cities. This made me wonder about the value of the legislation, since the cities didn’t seem interested in having this tool. 

So, I voted no. To be honest, I was surprised to be one of only two no votes, but I’m glad that the record will show a lack of unanimity on the bill as it moves over to the Senate for its next phase.

Background By Anne Trudeau
Portland Business Alliance lobbying for a return of sit-lie laws
Four years after Portland’s sit-lie ordinance was declared unconstitutional according to Oregon law, Portland Business Alliance is in Salem lobbying for a change in state law that would make bans on sitting or lying on the sidewalk possible again.
Portland Business Alliance is our city’s Chamber of Commerce, an organization of business people that wields a lot of power, or tries to. The PBA started the “Clean and Safe” program downtown, which has been described as a private police force for business owners
The proposed House Bill 2963 says that the state cannot pre-empt city law regarding sidewalk “management”. It is not clear yet whether the bill will make it out of committee and come up for a vote.

The housing rights movement will continue to speak out against the criminalization of homelessness. Safe, decent affordable housing and a jobs program are the answers, not harassment and assaults on people’s basic rights. Right 2 Survive and our allies know that we have to be strong and stand up for people’s constitutional rights to be in public areas, for the human right to sleep, sit, lie, dream and survive and more. —A. Trudeau


Lets send thank you emails to both Michael Dembrow and Sara Gelser




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s