City council discusses plan to crack down on 'undesirable norm' - KPTV - FOX 12

City council discusses plan to crack down on 'undesirable norm' protests

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

For two weeks city council meetings have been shut down by what officials are calling the "undesirable norm" protests, but Wednesday, Mayor Ted Wheeler introduced a plan to bring these disruptions to an end.

While protesters gathered outside city hall again with posters in hand, council members debated the proposal that would allow commissioners to eject or possibly ban people who disrupt meetings for up to a year.

A week ago, demonstrators took over the meeting to protest the death of 17-year-old Quanice Hayes, who was shot and killed by Portland police while investigating an armed robbery. Two weeks ago, three people were arrested after protests erupted during a meeting.

A spokesman for the mayor told FOX 12 that Wheeler believes the proposal, which changes current exclusion language, would be upheld by courts.

There is opposition to the plan, though. People filed up to a desk Wednesday, one after the other, testifying against the city's proposal.

Regular attendee and activist Joe Walsh made his voice heard, expressing frustration with city officials.

"I’m getting exhausted, I’m old, I can't do this every week,” Walsh said. “Every one of you who votes for this is going to be run out of office, do you hear me?"

Walsh filed a federal lawsuit against the city in 2015 claiming his first amendment rights were violated when the city banned him from future meetings based on disruptions.

A spokesman for the mayor commented on Walsh's ruling saying that current policies meant to keep people from attending the meetings were “overly broad,” adding that the new plan would address concerns, “by laying it out with specificity.”

After the council meeting, Wheeler decided to postpone the vote on the new plan until next week in hopes of working with the ACLU of Oregon on a compromise. He also has set up another public meeting in the Portland Building Friday.

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