By Kiera Morgan
The Lincoln City city council, in an effort to address the issue of panhandling in the city, reviewed an ordinance and considered amendments to the ordinance that are similar to what has been passed in other cities around the state, such as in Ashland and Medford, Oregon. The new proposed ordinance would remove from the code a provision that was put in the ordinance back in the ’80’s that prevents begging. The new provisions in the code prevent aggressive panhandling, as well as prohibiting people from handing items, including money, from a vehicle to another person on the sidewalk.
Lincoln City city manager Ron Chandler said that they are not prohibiting panhandling. “I’d like to point out that there’s nothing in the ordinance that prohibits someone from standing along the side of the road with a sign. What this ordinance addresses is the act of entering into the traffic lane and accepting something, or if you are a driver or passenger in a car handing something to somebody.” People can still give to those who have signs and are panhandling. They just have to pull over into a parking lot off the main roadway in order to give.
The council expressed some concerns about how this would go over with tourists who had good intentions and ended up getting a fine. Chandler said that, if passed, they would work on making some signs to keep the public informed. He said that they would work with local businesses and have signs put up around drive through areas and have donation boxes available as well. Mayor Don Williams said that they encourage people to give to local charitable organizations that help the poor and homeless. The motion passed and will be brought back next month for a second reading.