Officials worry fliers targeting the disabled could incite violence
PORTLAND, Ore. - The city says dozens of fliers that were passed around are hateful, even threatening, toward people with disabilities, and city officials are worried it could lead to violence.
Mayor Charlie Hales called attention to it on Twitter on Thursday, and the city is asking to hear from anyone who has received a flier.
New fliers target people with disabilities. http://t.co/KBIBN1lAnlCharlie Hales (@MayorPDX) August 8, 2013
The message is that people with disabilities, who vote and receive public assistance, are essentially giving themselves money and shouldn't be allowed to.
But it's the tone of the message that brings the most concern for city officials and some r.
Matt Stewart found one of the fliers stuffed into the screen of his front door of his Northeast Portland home.
Stewart is a high school teacher who is studying for his master's in special education and is learning the best way to teach people with disabilities.
When he found the flier his immediate reaction was to write it off but got more worried when the city did.
The flier could be considered threatening when it says, "the neighborhood wish to save this democracy and to stand in the way of those who would destroy it."
The city isn't sure what that could mean - to stand in their way.
"That's pretty disturbing language to hear," said Patrick Philpott with the Office of Equity and Human Rights. "It distresses the community at large to see one group suddenly being considered some sort of a villain."
The flier even says it will publicly post the number of people in the neighborhood who vote and receive disability benefits.
That number (seen as "sixteen" in the above flier) changes with the neighborhood the flier is placed in.
Stewart found the flier in the Irvington neighborhood, but they've been put in doors all over the city, including Eliot, Arbor Lodge, Peacock Lane, Laurelhurst and 40th and Belmont.
"There are other ways rather than making threats in the community if there's such a big concern. There's the political process to deal with," said Philpott.
Said Stewart: "These people (the disabled) are human beings and they have rights as well - the right to work - and if we can provide them with services, then they'll be able to be a part of our community (and) be successful members of our community."
No one is sure who is putting these up around the city. The flier is signed only by the name 'Artemis of the wildland."
The Portland Commission on Disability wants to hear from anyone who has received a flier or knows anything about them. Email information to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 503-823-4432.