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In Portland, Oregon, jaywalking has long been a topic of public discourse. One former mayor and police chief was famously quoted as saying that jaywalking was the first step in a slippery slope ending at the water park of anarchy (note: I've embellished his sentiment but he did say it). But in the wild, permissive years of the Bush era, jaywalking tickets went the way of personal liberty and civil rights.

With the recession (and possibly with a great increase in the number of commuters taking alternative transportation?), jaywalking is back.

An officer well-known for the traffic tickets he efficiently issues to commuters was spotted handing out jaywalking tickets in downtown Portland; and last night a Twitter friend was cited for jaywalking in the trendy "Pearl District" during the First Thursday art walk. According to response from other friends and fellow Portlanders, this is not an isolated incident; many others had also been cited for crossing against a "Don't Walk" sign, or crossing in the middle of the street.

The fine for jaywalking? Ouch: $97 each. That will look nice in Portland's coffers, and it takes way less time than a bond measure vote, right?

Have police in your area cracked down on previously ignored violations? Is this any way to help a city's budget -- extracting every last dime from a citizenry with greatly lessened ability to pay? Or is it just a selective, progressive tax; if someone is downtown in a businesssuit during working hours (gainfully employed!) or in a trendy neighborhood during art gallery events (disposable income and leisure time!) it must mean they, better than the poor citizens hanging out outside the Department of Human Services or shopping the warehouse discount stores, are able to pad the city's revenue stream.

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