A Multnomah County judge has dismissed a case against seven protesters arrested during a Gresham City Council meeting earlier this year.
In March, advocates for homeless people began chanting and making calls for change during a council meeting. That followed public testimony criticizing sweeps to clear homeless people from public areas.
Seven were charged with disorderly conduct. But this week, Judge Gregory Silver decided the section of the statute applied to the protesters was unconstitutional.
“If there was a protest they didn’t like, they could legally stop the protest and have people criminalized,” said Pastor Steve Kimes, one of the protesters arrested. “Now they can’t do that anymore. So this is a really good thing, especially for protesters.”
Kimes is a longtime homeless advocate. He considers the decision a major first amendment victory.