Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Please Support Joint Resolution 5 - Call your Senator NOW!

We have talked with many people and we realize that many of the high number of "sex industries/businesses" - strip clubs, porn shops, lingerie shops in our communities are fronts for prostitution and draws in other types of crime and greatly impacts the neighborhood.

Melissa Farley recently spoke to our community and urged us to look at the issues specific to Portland and all of Oregon allowing these businesses to freely operate without any zoning or regulations. 48 other states regulate and zone these businesses - why not Oregon? How is this impacting our neighborhoods and allowing a tolerance for the blatant free trade of women and girls on our streets and in these businesss.

At the heart of it is the State does not have strong zoning laws - goes back to our constitution - that is why we face these battles. Yes these busineses have a right to exist but they need to be zoned due to the nature of them and how they impact a neighborhood. Even in the most liberal of cities, San Francisco, NY, they are zoned so they are not impacting residents & children. They are in business districts.

Back in 2000 there was a measure for the regulation of adult businesses in Oregon. Neighborhood activists placed three measures on the ballot allowing the government to regulate such businesses. All three were defeated by the voters after being opposed by free speech advocates and adult business owners. The most recent attempt was Measure 87, which appeared on the 2000 general election ballot. It lost by a vote of 771,901 to 694,410.

The measure's supporters were outspent nearly 20-to-1 during the campaign. Two political action committees in favor of the measure the Christian Coalition of Oregon Issues PAC and Oregonians for Children spent $13,434 on their campaigns. In contrast, the No Censorship No on Measure 87 Committee spent $250,590 to defeat it.

The campaign against Measure 87 received big contributions from a range of adult businesses and free speech advocates.

We just did some basic research and back in 2004 the Arbor Lodge neighborhood in North Portland fought "Fat Cobra" porn store from opening up right across the street from an elementary school & lost. Fat Cobra's owner donated & maxed out his donation to Portland's Mayor Elect Sam Adams.

The community of Tualatin now fights a strip club from moving in in a neighborhood area - That existing clubs have a history of serious and persistent problems involving police calls, disturbances, lewd or unlawful activities, public drunkenness, fights and altercations with reasonable inference that similar activities will occur at the premises proposed to be licensed.

We have noticed that the City of Portland did recently target & close a long time adult business in the heart of Chinatown where the real estate prices are quite high now due to the gentrification of that area. Is this something the City will do for similar businesses but in areas that are not has highly desirable for development? Driving more of these adult businesses out of downtown & highly valued real estate areas and out to our working family communities, where we then are impacted daily by these patrons and the documented issues regarding these businesses? How many more adult businesses does 82nd Ave and it's surround cross streets need?

In keeping true to the City's plan of "20 minute walking neighborhood" where residents should be able to walk to a store for fresh produce, get involved with your neighbors or make your way to your local park or pub on a warm summer evening. This is not possible on 82nd Avenue. There is a plethora of adult businesses and supermarkets are a rare sight.

We wanted to start this dialogue. We believe as neighborhoods and communities we need to question this. It truly does affect livability and safety.

Urge your senator to support Joint Resolution 5. Senator Don Morrisette, a builder and realtor who is a member of the state legislature has sponsored a bill that is critical in restoring and preserving neighborhood livability. The bill would place the measure on the ballot. If it passes, it will change the Oregon constitution and would give local incorporated jurisdictions the ability to create a zoning system to determine the placement of sexually oriented business'.
Please go to the link below to read a very brief summary of the bill.
Then contact the following:
Jackie Dingfelder or by phone at (503) 986-1723
Ben Cannon phone (503) 986-1446
Thank you all,
Montavilla In Action


Samantha Berg said...

I will absolutely support this effort and ask other activists fighting sexual exploitation to do so as well.

Thank you so much for doing the investigative work surrounding where the money come from and where it goes regarding Portland's massive prostitution and human trafficking problems.

There are proven solutions for disrupting the pimps who hide illegal activities behind legal sexually-oriented businesses, but few elected officials with enough integrity to implement those solutions. We citizens can generate the political will to change the current, unacceptable state of our neighborhoods.

kathy casey said...

When will this town wake up and realize that zoning of businesses based on their activity and impact on the area it is resides in is a normal part of planning & development of any City/State.

It has nothing due to a business' "civil liberties".

Keith Daly said...

A $500 donation by an adult business to Sam Adams does not indicate much of an influence politically.

Personally I think MIA should keep its working relationship with the new mayor unencumbered by such accusations.

cica said...

I'm baffled to see a group based on Montavilla support this. Do you seriously think that the City would use the new power to get rid of all those sex businesses on the 82nd Avenue? More likely, it would close down sex businesses in other areas of town where the demand for land is much higher, pushing even more sex businesses our way...

Karl Ludlow said...

Go ahead & google "zoning adult businesses" you will see that 48 states do this.

The main zoning is that they cannot be near homes, schools, churches etc - so in most cities that zones them to downtown or conmercial zones or industrial zones. Not on 82nd Ave across from schools, bordering houses etc.

Zoning based on the businesses is COMMON practice all throughout the US & Europe, whether it is a Wal Mart, a Sports Arena, Sex Shop, Coal factory - the businesses imapact to the intended neighborhoood is considered.

Liam Richards said...

Keith Daly -
Actually if you re-read the article the Fat Cobra's owner contributed twice to then Mayor elect Sam, so a grand to Sam.

$1000.00 might not seem like lot in the scheme of things but that is more that I contributed to Sam or that most of the working families in North Portland that was trying to stop a "safe and confortable video booths/porn store" opening up from their kid's kindergarden counld contribule to Sam.

Keith - Perhaps you should question Sam's nowSustainability staff member & former Portland Mercury report, Amy Ruiz who wrote the aricle back in October as to why she researched & wrote it to begin with.

Why did she thing it was relevant to point out this correlation with Sam & Fat Cobra. Sam mustn't have an issue with what she did since she is now on his staff.


Anonymous said...

Liam: So for just $500 more than anyone else contributed to Sam Adams, he's bought off? I think Keith made good points at the meeting & in his posts, especially after seeing him attacked by Montavilla In Action.

It's not productive to accuse a Mayor, as a neighborhood we need the support of our reps in office, like 'em or not.

Consider my support for this cause over and done.

Anonymous said...

Actually Adams returned the money - anyone want to venture a guess if MIA wants to retract their condemnation of Adams for his contribution?

Think they'll praise his return of the entire amount?

Thoughts about why they didn't do their research before making the accusation?

"Adams reports that the party netted plenty of funds for his campaign. Good thing, because he also gave back a thousand bucks to one donor last week. As first reported on Blogtown, Patrick Lanagan of Fat Cobra Video and Eagle Portland (a porn shop and a gay bar, respectively) chipped in a combined $1,000 to Sam Adams' mayoral campaign in late October—$500 personally, and $500 from his business."

Keith Daly said...

Liam - I see that someone's pointed out that Adams returned the money feeling uncomfortable about accepting it from that contributor - yet MIA still has the misinformation about Adams in their blog post.

That's a bit confusing. I think my point about remaining unencumbered from baseless accusations when attempting to work with our elected officials is even more relevant.