Thursday, October 23, 2014

Renting Sidewalks? |

Alley Valkyrie, writer, artist and activist, wrote an article for Eugene's Eugene Weekly on this city's "sidewalk commerce" law, which allows businesses to rent the public sidewalks in front of their businesses to conduct business (sell wares, etc.) However, as Valkyrie points out, this is not being done. Instead, the law allows businesses to hassle the homeless and other so-called undesirables; in effect, business owners are now working as cops:

Renting Sidewalks? | These businesses all have sandwich boards outside so that they can claim that they are using the space, but they are not using the space for its intended purpose of vending, and the employees of these businesses often tell people who are not customers to move off the sidewalk and then call the police if they do not comply with the order. Last month, a man who was conducting a poetry reading on the public sidewalk outside Sizzle Pie was arrested and charged with criminal trespass when he did not comply with orders to move from the spot. Businesses like Sizzle Pie, encouraged by the city and in conjunction with police, are misusing the law in order to displace the poor and homeless from downtown Eugene. (Alley Valkyrie, Eugene Weekly.)
Valkyrie gives good advice on how to fight this, including letting the businesses know you do not accept this misuse of the law.

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