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Friday, October 28, 2011

BREAKING: Randy Leonard Warns City Support "Unreasonably Tested" by Plan to Occupy Jamison Square

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Commissioner Randy Leonard, perhaps the Portland City Council's most passionate defender of Occupy Portland, has issued a stern warning to the movement over its plans to spread out into the Pearl District's Jamison Square, in an email obtained by the Mercury this morning.

I have been clear to the media and anyone that asks that I believe any criticism by the business community and others of the Occupy Portland movement in Portland should not deflect the more important message of economic inequities that plague working class Americans.

However, I am now left wondering if the planned march to and occupation of Jamison Square in NW Portland is an attempt to provoke a confrontation with the entire city council.

There are members of the council who at minimum have tolerated the current occupation sites to those of us who have publicly supported the occupation of Lownsdale and Chapman Squares in downtown Portland.

Leonard writes in response to an occupierOccupy Portland sympathizer and longtime Portland activist who emailed the five city commissioners to suggest that taking steps to clear out Jamison after park curfew Saturday night/Sunday morning would be "idiotic policy" in the wake of the mayhem down in Oakland.

Wrote Matthew Klug:

What exactly is Your Plan, if You want to arrest, detain, book, jail and process as many people as would be necessary for maintaining Your definition of "order?"

I am concerned that this is not going to end well, and will further tarnish the reputation of our Great City.

UPDATE 11:55 AM: Klug, reached by phone, tells me he was just trying to urge Portland officials not to react like Oakland officials: with a fusillade of tear gas and rubber bullets. He says he hasn't been frequenting the camp, but "I'm 99 percent, absolutely." And he also notes that he regularly sees wealthy people walking their dogs in the park after midnight. "No one removes them," he says.

Which commissioners seem to be the most disenchanted with the current campsite? Probably commissioners Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman—Adams, Leonard, and Amanda Fritz have all publicly backed the encampment. Says Leonard:

I am very proud of how our Portland Police have interacted with the Occupy Movement. But make no mistake about it: The current good relationships between the protesters and the police exist only because of the oversight of Mayor Adams and his Police Chief, Mike Reese.

I hope reasoned minds prevail and see the benefit of maintaining a peaceful and politically supported Occupy Portland movement by staying in Chapman and Lownsdale Squares.

Read the exchange below.

Leonard's email:

You may not be aware but I have spoken publicly about my support of the Occupy Portland protesters including my support of the movement remaining at their current location in downtown Portland.

http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2011/10/19/randy-leonard-on-occupy-portland-i-dont-feel-the-compulsion-to-say-there-needs-to-be-an-end-to-this

I have been clear to the media and anyone that asks that I believe any criticism by the business community and others of the Occupy Portland movement in Portland should not deflect the more important message of economic inequities that plague working class Americans.

However, I am now left wondering if the planned march to and occupation of Jamison Square in NW Portland is an attempt to provoke a confrontation with the entire city council.

There are members of the council who at minimum have tolerated the current occupation sites to those of us who have publicly supported the occupation of Lownsdale and Chapman Squares in downtown Portland.

I do not understand how the goals of the Occupy Portland movement are furthered by expanding its encampment to a neighborhood park.

You have suggested in your subject line that you are open to giving us some advice. Thank you.

I also have some advice for you: Know who your friends are.

We -the entire city council- are your friends...at present.

However, our friendship and support are now being unreasonably tested by the decision to occupy Jamison Square.

I would recommend that the Occupy Portland movement maintain its current presence in Chapman and Lownsdale Squares. Considering the relationship between protestors and city governments elsewhere, Occupy Portland should appreciate the support your elected officials (especially Mayor Adams) have given you...despite a storm of criticism from nearly every economic class within and outside of Portland.

I am very proud of how our Portland Police have interacted with the Occupy Movement. But make no mistake about it: The current good relationships between the protesters and the police exist only because of the oversight of Mayor Adams and his Police Chief, Mike Reese.

I hope reasoned minds prevail and see the benefit of maintaining a peaceful and politically supported Occupy Portland movement by staying in Chapman and Lownsdale Squares.

Klug's email:

F.Y.I.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/28/us-usa-wallstreet-protests-oakland-idUSTRE79Q01F20111028

Re: Saturday in N.W. Portland, Ore.

I think You may have already made egregious errors in judgement with regard to the protesting 99%, and the statements made about removing citizens remaining after midnight in Jamison Square.

This decision seems like Schizophrenic Behavior from Government Policy and Elected Officials alike.

Did You see the first demonstration march?
Did You see the larger demonstration march which followed thereafter?
Do You expect that the march this coming Saturday will not even be yet "Larger?"

The Portland Police, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, O.S.P., and even the National Guard could not arrest, detain, book, jail and process as many people as would be necessary for "order", should You send Police in to disrupt a peaceful demonstration and march.

This is idiotic policy.

The A.L.C.U. has reserved seats on airplanes to fly Lawyers to Portland, in the case that "all Hell breaks loose." I will be across the street filming video of everything.
The Federal Department of Justice (D.O.J.) has representatives in Portland already investigating and using a microscope to look under the hood of our "City Council" and "The Portland Police Bureau."

When the clean and sanitized confines of City Hall and the West Hills are reflected in "Official City Declarations", the rest of the 99% become even more restless.

Do You remember that our community has "No Jail Beds to Spare?"

What exactly is Your Plan, if You want to arrest, detain, book, jail and process as many people as would be necessary for maintaining Your definition of "order?"

I am concerned that this is not going to end well, and will further tarnish the reputation of our Great City.

- peace

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