Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 4th, 2007 at 8:40 am
That's when Martell says he was approached by Rose Festival security personnel and told he must leave the park once the Waterfront Village carnival began.
According to Martell, the security guard said he was not welcome because he's not a registered vendor (even though Martell was not even in the actual Village). Martell tried to explain that he doesn't need a vendor license to ride around Waterfront Park because he doesn't sell anything (he only accepts donations). Unfortunately, says Martell, the security person would "not listen" to him and quickly spread the word to the cops.
Yesterday afternoon Martell says he was approached by Portland Police officers while at Saturday Market. Martell says they threatened him,
"They said if I showed up - with or without my pedicab - they would take me to jail and impound my pedicab. They also told me they had warned 40 other officers in the area to arrest me if they saw me in the park."
Martell is confused, frustrated, and feels his civil rights are being violated,
"They're taking away my rights as a citizen and as a cyclist. It's a civil rights issue. There are other people on bikes in that area, I have every right to be out there."
And he's even gone to court in the past to preserve that right. Back in 2004 the Portland Parks and Recreation Department tried to make him get a vendor license to operate in Waterfront Park. Martell insisted that since he wasn't selling anything (merely giving people rides), he should not have to register with the city. He hired a lawyer, fought the case, and won.
The result of that case was that he could continue to operate his pedicab (with his Rose Pedals sign), as long as he did not solicit people for rides, did not charge for rides, and did not post any rates. Martell had been happily operating like that ever since until this recent crackdown.
Since he claims the security guards and the police just "don't understand" how he operates, Martell has written a note to Waterfront Village Manager Peter Mott.
Martell feels like the Waterfront Village security staff have overstepped the boundaries of their power by excluding him from Waterfront Park. I'm awaiting response from Rose Festival officials and hope to share their perspective soon.
UPDATE: I just got off the phone with Rose Festival public relations chief Rich Jarvis. He maintains that because the Rose Festival has a permit for the entire area (from Riverfront Place to Burnside) that they have every right to regulate "vendors".
"Even though it's technically a public park, under our permit it's our park and we have a legal right to regulate vendors in that area."
I told him the issue is that Casey Martell doesn't consider himself a "vendor". Jarvis says that if there is any cash changing hands, it's considered vending, whether the money is solicited or not. He said un-permitted vendors (like Martell in his mind) are,
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"Taking advantage of our time, publicity efforts, and notoriety to try and get some personal gain out of it. If there is cash changing hands, there really is no grey area."