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Portland allows congregation to resume feeding the poor

SHARE Portland allows congregation to resume feeding the poor

PORTLAND, Ore. — The city has agreed to let a Methodist congregation resume serving meals to the poor, ending a dispute that had evolved into a battle over the separation of church and state.

The City Council had revoked a land-use permit issued to Sunnyside Centenary Methodist Church after neighbors said some of the people attracted to the meals program were menacing.

An earlier decision to limit attendance and ban the program kindled protests and drew national attention over complaints the action breached First Amendment rights.

The council in March reversed their permit decision and urged the church and community to come up with a plan to address complaints about noise, vandalism and alcohol- and drug-related activities.