Popular Panhandling Median In Portland Removed By City
If you're traveling into Portland from outer Congress St, chances are you've encountered a panhandler at the intersection of St. John St. and Congress. That may change in the near future due to the removal of perhaps the most popular median for panhandling in the entire city.
According to the Bangor Daily News, the City of Portland removed that median as part of a restructuring of that intersection to include a bike lane. The city removed the median, curbing, signage and some flowers that also existed in that space. As seen in the photo above, the city simply paved over the open area left after the removal.
The intersection of St. John/Congress has long been one of Portland's most popular spots for panhandling. For more than 10 years, and often at all times of the day, there have been people standing on that median across from the Greyhound Station looking for money. It's not known if the removal of the median will prohibit panhandling at that intersection but it certainly will deter it.
The City of Portland lost a legal battle over an ordinance put into place that made it illegal to stand on medians across the city due to safety concerns. Civil Liberties attorney Zach Heiden, who championed the court case against the city that reversed the ordinance, told the Bangor Daily News that "the city shouldn't be taking out medians and interfering with people's right to express themselves."