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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Will Occupy Portland Decide to Stay or Go? (Hint: It Might Be Both)

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 5:52 PM

Occupy Portland's general assembly will begin deciding tonight how to respond to Mayor Sam Adams' Sunday morning eviction notice, with occupiers clearly divided over whether some or all occupiers should stay and fortify the camps at Chapman and Lownsdale squares (and Terry Schrunk Plaza) or start—and how to go about putting that plan in place if that's what's decided.

One idea floated at a noon emergency meeting outside city hall (it was peaceful, but still sent the building into lockdown) included holding a dance party and a potluck for occupiers and even police, and then moving into a quiet vigil where occupiers would share their personal stories before nonviolent arrests for those who want to be arrested. That was what happened at Jamison Square, and it wound up being a powerful rallying moment for occupiers.

(Oh, and on the subject of city lockdowns, a city source tells me the Portland Building has blocked off bike access all weekend at its garage, which faces Chapman Square across Fourth.)

Update 6 PM: Follow developments tonight on Twitter! And here's a story from KPTV on Portland's plans for accommodating what's looking to be a sudden influx of homeless Portlanders.

Back to the original post: But others weren't so amenable to letting the camp shut down without some kind of struggle. Protesters called for fortifications, calling in occupiers from other Oregon cities, and creating bike-locked human chains all around the parks. "This is my fucking home," said one protester. In other tactics aired at the meeting this afternoon, legal advisers suggested trying to file a First Amendment injunction. There was wide attention paid to the fact that evictions in other cities failed to actually dislodge anyone.

The reality of what's coming late Saturday, however, is rippling through the campsites. A few tents have come down, with people saying they aren't going to stick around for the arrests with others just reducing their footprints. A few occupiers have discussed getting gas masks. At one point, a firecracker went off.

The police presence is palpably heavier, thanks to cops coming through and passing out fliers telling campers how to get into shelters downtown. (Meanwhile, a police source confirms that it's not unreasonable to suspect that anyone arrested Sunday morning might wind up in jail for a couple of days—longer than previous arrests—to discourage a reoccupation.)

Also, no one wants Occupy's expensive infrastructure confiscated—especially if it can be reused in a future occupation or even just in a building the city helps the movement obtain. The medics have taken down their storage tent and sent the extra supplies to a home offsite. The kitchen staff, when I was passing through, was mixing in talk of how to break down with talk of dispensing large plates of macaroni and cheese.

"We'll be discussing soon how to secure our assets," I was told.

And wouldn't you know it. The Real Occupy Portland surfaced again today. Their missive is below.

Update 6:10: I've also added a photo of the note cops were handing out with housing information.

To: Mayor Adams and the City of Portland

On Thursday November 2, 2011, The Real Occupy Portland released a press statement identifying its members as some of the original organizers of Occupy Portland.   In that statement TROP apologized for the damage to Lownsdale and Chapman Parks and stated the intention of raising funds to reimburse the city for the repair of same.

The Real Occupy Portland stands by this commitment.
 
Like the 10,000 plus people that participated in the march on October 6, 2011, our intention is to fight for and bring forward the prosecution of those that are directly responsible for the economic turmoil in America.

TROP is in the process of launching a merchandising campaign to raise those funds and keep that promise. This is the first item on our local agenda.  TROP, being part of the Portland community, now turns to the City of Portland, the Community and the business community to ask for their support in recognizing our intent and efforts to repair the two parks to their original conditions.  Proceeds from the sale of the merchandising will go directly to making those repairs.

We are also currently working on a campaign to raise funds to aid in the prosecution of those in the financial industry responsible for our economic crisis.

At 5pm on Saturday November 12, 2011, members of TROP will be guests on Adam Klugman’s “Mad As Hell In America” (AM 620 KPOJ, www.madashellinamerica.com).  We will be discussing our agenda, evolution of the movement and the developments at Chapman and Lownsdale Parks.

It is certain that everyone involved in the Occupy Movement has the same purpose, the purpose to voice the protest of the 99% who have been wronged by the financial industry and corrupt politicians in Washington. We would also like to extend an olive branch and welcome any assistance from the occupiers of Chapman and Lownsdale Parks, as we proceed with our efforts.  In the spirit of the entire Occupy Movement, TROP will continue to march forward and ask everyone to protest in solidarity for change, justice and know that together we can restore America.

Sincerely,

The Real Occupy Portland

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