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1st Circuit upholds decision that struck down Portland panhandling law


BOSTON — The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling that struck down Portland's panhandling ordinance last year.

The ordinance that was found to be unconstitutional didn't specifically mention panhandling, but it banned loitering on medians and forced panhandlers seeking handouts from motorists to move.

The city argued that there were public safety concerns.

But the plaintiffs contended that the ordinance prohibiting pedestrians from loitering on medians was too broad and that the city exaggerated the public safety hazards to justify the ban.

On Friday, Judge David Barron wrote that the City Council's desire to protect the public was "perfectly understandable" but said the ordinance was "too sweeping" and violated First Amendment rights.

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