Portland’s Panhandling Law Faces Legal Challenge

Updated 12 months ago

Three people have filed a legal challenge to Portland’s ordinance that bars panhandling on traffic islands, saying it violates their constitutional free speech rights.

The law that took effect in August bars anyone from standing on median strips, but homeless advocates say it’s aimed at panhandlers. City officials said it was a public safety issue.

The defendants suing the city filed a motion in federal court Tuesday that seeks to prevent enforcement of the ordinance. Two defendants are described as political activists who stand on traffic islands holding political signs. The third defendant is described as homeless.

Mayor Michael Brennan tells the Portland Press Herald, he does not think anyone has been cited for violating the ordinance. He says police are focused on educating the public and fostering voluntary compliance.


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