By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,528)
This afternoon the Friends of Congress Square Park filed a lawsuit against the City of Portland to pursue its right to file a Citizens’ Initiative. The Complaint and Emergency Motion for a Preliminary Injunction have been posted online at www.congresssquarepark.org for the publics’ review. The Friends have asked the court to expedite the case so it can immediately proceed with the signature gathering process.
The lawsuit was filed in response to the city’s September 13th decision to deny a petition that would have placed an ordinance to the Land Bank law on a referendum for Portland voters to vote on. The Complaint was filed by Friends attorneys Robert H. Levin and Sarah M. McDaniel.
“Our parks and open space are vitally important to our identity and qualify of life. It’s disappointing that the City is putting up roadblocks to a Citizens’ Initiative that will benefit all Portlanders,” said Frank Turek, the Friends’ President in a press release received this afternoon. It also announced there will be a press conference on Thursday, September 26th at 10:00 am in Lincoln Park, Portland.
“This Citizens’ Initiative will help enact a change in City Code that will put a stronger set of rules in place for selling protected public parks. It will offer a peace of mind to Portlanders who cherish their public parks and want to insure they live on for generations to come,” said David LaCasse, the Friends’ Treasurer.
Between September 5 – 6, Public Policy conducted a public opinion poll in which it found that by a 63% to 29% majority, Portlanders support a voter referendum for the decision to sell Congress Square Park and that by a 53% to 25% majority public parks should not be sold to private developers according to the same press release.