Police telling people living on downtown sidewalks to move on - KPTV - FOX 12

5 arrests in downtown Portland homeless sidewalk sweep

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

People living on downtown sidewalks are being told that they need to move on or face criminal charges.

On Wednesday, five people were arrested.

Last month, Portland police evicted people who were camped outside City Hall. Now city leaders say they are expanding on that in other sections of the central city.

"This is about lawlessness; this is about activities that are appropriate and inappropriate in the right-of-way," Mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement. "Some of the people involved have said that the laws don't apply to them. And they're wrong."

Officers began making note last month of people who had been in one place and established large piles of items on the sidewalks. On Wednesday, police returned and told them they were in violation of city ordinance.

Those who don't move can be charged with interfering with a police officer, which can lead to an arrest and court time.

The sidewalk plan began at City Hall after police received 113 calls for service in the first six months of 2013.

Since July 22, the street in front of City Hall has been cleaned daily. Protesters also arrive each day.

City leaders said homeless people can still sleep on the sidewalk overnight, but they cannot live there for extended periods of time.

The enforcement project is expected to continue throughout the summer. The five people arrested Wednesday face charges including illegal camping, interfering with a police officer, offensive littering and one person was arrested on meth charges.

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