Homeless take prime parade spots in protest

Some of Portland's homeless organized a protest to send a message to City Hall by taking prime spots along the route of the Grand Floral Parade, June 7, 2013 (KOIN 6 News/Gary Kahne)
A person camping on a Portland city street. (KOIN 6 News/Gary Kahne)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Grand Floral Parade brings thousands of people to downtown Portland, and many camp out to secure a prime spot along the route.

Some of Portland’s homeless are doing the same in a loosely organized protest to send a message to City Hall.

Some of Portland's homeless organized a protest to send a message to City Hall by taking prime spots along the route of the Grand Floral Parade, June 7, 2013 (KOIN 6 News/Gary Kahne)
Some of Portland’s homeless organized a protest to send a message to City Hall by taking prime spots along the route of the Grand Floral Parade, June 7, 2013 (KOIN 6 News/Gary Kahne)

“Give us a legal place to sleep,” said a homeless woman named Jessica. “We want to look for jobs.”

This is the only time of the year the city allows people to set up camp 24 hours before the parade begins.

But business owners along this stretch of the parade route along SW 4th and Alder said the homeless demonstration is hurting Friday night business.

“It affects business,” said David McCoy, a line cook at Jackson’s Light and Healthy restaurant. “It makes people want to go somewhere else.”

Another homeless person, Shasta, dismissed the idea the homeless camp is blocking traffic. “People have a right to sit.”

Police said their hands are tied.

“We don’t regulate who watches from where,” said PPB Sgt. Pete Simpson. “It’s an equal opportunity parade.”

The parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Coliseum and continues down Martin Luther King Boulveard, across the Burnside Bridge, south on 4th Avenue, west on Salmon, north on Broadway, west on Stark, south on 10th and west on Taylor until its conclusion near Lincoln High School.

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