Even as a layman (not a lawyer), it strikes me as odd that the city of Portland does not treat panhandling on the medians as an opportunity to regulate commerce – which is perfectly legal and has nothing to do with free speech.

Require a permit for panhandling and apply the same rules as any other business. Charge a fee. Set zoning limits. After all, would we allow prostitution on the median? A hot dog stand?

Our error is in assuming that panhandling is not a business. It is.

Tom Myette