Pendleton Reverses Area Trend, Drops Ban on Pandhandling
It's an usual move, given that most cities in our area have begun to place at least some restrictions on pandhandling. Most have designated certain areas 'off limits.' But in Pendleton, they've gone the other way.
According to MyColumbiaBasin.com, the City reversed it's course because of pressure (some say strongarming) from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
According to city officials, the ACLU sent the city a letter saying the ordinance that bans panhandling is not legal due to the language of the law. There have reportedly been several court cases the last few years claiming banning panhandling takes away a person's 'freedom of speech.'
Many cities have enacted restrictions or 'semi-bans' on the practice, mainly after numerous citizens complaints about the overly aggressive behavior of some of the individuals. There have been some arrests involving panhandlers after they threatened people or behaved in such a manner that the safety of the citizen was in question.
These include verbally harassing people, following them, even hitting or slapping their car windows or doors when people refuse to give them money.