Occupy Portland

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Occupy Portland
Part of the Occupy movement
Occupy Portland, first day.jpg
People gathered in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square to Occupy Portland on October 6, 2011
Date October 6, 2011 – present
Location Portland, Oregon
45°30′57″N 122°40′39″W / 45.5159°N 122.67745°W / 45.5159; -122.67745Coordinates: 45°30′57″N 122°40′39″W / 45.5159°N 122.67745°W / 45.5159; -122.67745
Methods Demonstration, occupation, protest, street protesters
Arrests and injuries
Injuries 3+
Arrested 10 (initially);[1][2] 27 (October 30)[3]

Occupy Portland was a collaboration that began on October 6, 2011 in downtown Portland, Oregon as a protest and demonstration. It is inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York City on September 17, 2011.

The movement's initial October 6 March drew an estimated 10,000 to Pioneer Courthouse Square.[4] The protesters later set up an encampment in the Plaza Blocks Park near Portland City Hall. The Plaza Blocks include Lownsdale Square on the north side and Chapman Square to the south, which were the focus of the encampment.

On November 10, Portland mayor Sam Adams gave the protesters a deadline to clear out of the park by 12:01 AM on November 13. The order was given in response to rising crime rates and police overtime costs.[5] It was reported in February 2012 that police overtime pay for policing Occupy Portland activities has amounted to approximately $2 million USD.[6] The tent city that was the physical base of Occupy Portland was dismantled by the Portland Police on November 13. However, the eponymous organization behind Occupy Portland has continued to plan acts of civil disobedience. On December 12, Occupy Portland led a picket that successfully shut the Port of Portland for the day.

As of July 2012, Occupy Portland had continued to engage in organized meetings, events and actions.[7][8]

Background[edit]

A member of the hacktivistAnonymous present at the Occupy Portland march.
A member of Anonymous present at the Occupy Portland march on October 6th, 2011.

Occupy Portland was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement,[9] which in turn was inspired by the Arab Spring and popularized by the anti-commercial activist magazine Adbusters and the hacktivist group Anonymous.[10][11][12]

Occupation of Lownsdale and Chapman squares[edit]

Preparations[edit]

Occupy Portland organizers began work on the rally two weeks prior. Before the march began, rally leaders gathered to share contact information for legal assistance should any arrests be made. Leaders wore arm bands designating roles such as medic, peacekeeper, etc. City officials urged protesters to obtain a permit and to share the intended route. Organizers did neither, but did cooperate with police throughout the day of the rally.[4]

Portland mayor Sam Adams released a statement the morning of October 6 acknowledging Occupy Portland's plans for peaceful protest and warning city residents of potential "disruptions".[10] He insisted that city representatives and the Portland Police Bureau reach out to event organizers to ensure a "peaceful, effective, and orderly event where everyone is safe".[10] The Portland Business Alliance issued a security warning and encouraged downtown businesses to use caution.[13]

Protest[edit]

Occupy Portland protesters at Pioneer Courthouse Square are observed by Portland Police (October 6, 2011).

According to the organizers, the protest is based on frustration with "corporate greed and a lack of government accountability."[14] Demonstrators met at Tom McCall Waterfront Park near the Burnside Bridge at noon and began marching along Yamhill Street to Pioneer Courthouse Square starting at 2:30 p.m.[10]

Portland Police estimated the crowd at more than 4,000 people when the march began, increasing to 10,000 by mid-day and filling Pioneer Courthouse Square and its surrounding streets.[4][10][13] The size of the crowd forced TriMet, the public agency that operates mass transit throughout the Portland metropolitan area, to temporarily halt operation of the Green and Yellow MAX Light Rail lines along the Portland Transit Mall.[4][13] Part of Broadway street was closed for nearly an hour and a half.[4] No arrests were made. With permission from Mayor Adams, hundreds of demonstrators settled in Lownsdale and Chapman squares to camp overnight.[13]

Occupy Portland poster

Protesters were also occupying the one-block section of SW Main Street between Lownsdale and Chapman Squares. Mayor Adams met with the protesters to ask them to clear the street to allow traffic from the Hawthorne Bridge, which exits onto Main Street, to flow freely. Most, but not all, protesters agreed; on the night of October 12, police cleared the street and made eight arrests, indicating that they would continue to keep the street open.[2][15]

On October 26 the organizers of Occupy Portland reported the disappearance of $20,000 donated to the group through a PayPal account.[16] Following the loss of the donations, the Occupy Portland finance committee filed with the State of Oregon to incorporate the organization as a non-profit against the wishes of the general assembly, the organizations decision-making forum. Finance committee member Reid Jackson said the filing was made to prevent an infiltrator within the group from capitalizing on the money the movement was attracting.[16]

A protest in the Pearl District began the afternoon of October 29, following a march that ended in Jamison Square.[3] Mayor Sam Adams had prohibited the expansion of the protest into city parks beyond Chapman and Lownsdale squares; when protesters defied him, 27 of them were arrested.[3] Protestors said that the residents of the Pearl District were members of the wealthy demographic they were protesting.[17]

Public reaction[edit]

With hundreds of people attending the movement's organizing meetings, the Occupy Portland protest attracted support from the community even while the protest was in its planning stages.[18] Members of Portland's chapter of Veterans for Peace as well as members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Laborers' International Union of North America, and other local labor organizations participated in the march.[10][19][20][21] The Executive Board of Laborer's Local 483 (LIUNA) released a statement in support of the protest.[22] Mayoral candidate Eileen Brady expressed her support for the demonstration, though she echoed Mayor Sam Adams' contention that protesters should abide by city ordinances and not block streets without a permit.[23]

State Representative Jefferson Smith was the only of three major contenders in Portland's 2012 mayoral race to go on the record as opposing any attempt to remove the protest camp from downtown Portland as long as the protesters remained peaceful. "If things are getting out of hand criminally, we've got to be willing to use force. But we shouldn't be willing to use force merely for the expression of speech," said Smith on October 25.[24]

On October 31, filmmaker Michael Moore visited Occupy Portland protesters and delivered a speech at Terry Schrunk Plaza.[25] Shrunk Plaza is federally-owned property located next to Chapman and Lownsdale squares, Occupy Portland's main campsites.[26] Ten protesters were arrested for camping at Terry Schrunk Plaza due to a city order prohibiting protesters from expanding their campsites to other city parks.[26] In documents obtained by Judicial Watch it was revealed that someone within the Obama White House instructed the General Services Administration (GSA) to not arrest Occupy Portland protesters who had broken the law on GSA-owned federal land; this is counter to previous denials by the Obama White House.[27]

Relationship with city officials[edit]

Video of the protest

Portland's protesters have sought amicable relations with police, city officials and others in the community.[28] Although the protesters failed to obtain a permit for their October 6 March, or for their subsequent rally in Pioneer Courthouse Square, they avoided confrontation with police by stressing a willingness to keep the march and rally peaceful and under control. They succeeded and no arrests were made.[29]

On October 7, the protesters entered negotiations with city officials and Portland police to remain in Lownsdale and Chapman squares. At issue was the fact that the city had granted a permit to the Portland Marathon to assemble in Lownsdale Square on October 9. Protesters agreed to consolidate into Chapman Square, and began negotiating with city, police, and marathon officials over security requirements.[30] On October 8, protesters reached an agreement with the marathon, city and police, and several hundred protesters marched behind marathon runners on October 9.[31][32] Portland Marathon officials declared the day a success, and event director Les Smith asserted that "the Occupy Portland people have been a godsend for us."[33]

On October 21, Portland Police released crime statistics (including the criminal arrests of the Occupy Portland protesters) that "showed an 81 percent spike in crime compared to the two weeks before the protest started ... Police said between Oct. 6 and 20, there were 11 arrests for vandalism and 16 for disorderly conduct". In the previous two weeks only 2 arrests for each crime occurred.[34] The figures, along with assertions of poor hygiene at the Occupy campsite, were later cited by city officials as justifications for clearing the camp.

Eviction[edit]

refer to caption
Map of downtown Portland, showing where the protesters camped

At 12:01 AM on November 13, Adams gave the order for the Portland Police Bureau to clear out and dismantle the park. Roughly 70% of the campers left promptly, though the remaining 30% stayed. In the following hours, thousands of Portlanders arrived to see events unfold. some Portlanders came in support of the protesters and others came to see how the police would end the occupation. During the night, the police both advanced and pulled back twice with reports of scattered violence. A horse ridden by a horse-mounted police officer stepped on a person's foot, a policeman was hit by a firework, and another policeman was hit with a water bottle.[citation needed]

Riot police eventually shut down the protest, arresting dozens. Some protesters claimed excessive force on the part of the police. One protester complained: "[Protesters] were talking about what we were going to do and then [the police] just started hitting people".[35] The police threatened to use chemical agents and impact weapons if the protesters did not disperse.[35][36][36][37][38][39] Ultimately, though, the eviction was less violent than in other cities.[citation needed] The police action was streamed live online and received global press coverage.[35][36][39]

Soon after dawn, the police were able to sweep away and dismantle most of the tents in the encampment.[40][41][42] A group retook the northwest corner of Chapman Square until riot police physically took over the area around noon.[40]

Though the camp was destroyed, the showdown was claimed as a victory by Occupy Portland because the police were pushed back twice and their deadline for dismantling the camp was not met. The group also pointed to the largely nonviolent nature of the downtown protest camp throughout its existence and its ultimate removal.[43]

The city subsequently built a chain-link fence around the two squares to prevent protesters from returning to the camp site. In the evening of November 13, protesters re-formed on Main Street, one block west of the original encampment. The police broke up the assembly.[44]

Post-eviction activities[edit]

Picket of the Port of Portland[edit]

Protesters block a truck trying to enter Terminal 5

On December 12, Occupy Portland led a picket of the Port of Portland that was part of a broader action by the Occupy movement to disrupt commercial ports on the West Coast of the United States. The picket successfully shut down Terminals 5 and 6 and prevented 200 longshoremen from reaching work for the morning shift.[45] The Occupy movement said that SSA Marine, a marine terminal operations company whose owner, Carix, is partially owned by Goldman Sachs, was a target of the protest. EGT, an international grains exporter owned by Bunge Limited, was also mentioned. Although the protesters claimed solidarity with International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21 in Longview and highlighted the plight of non-unionized truckers, the protests were not endorsed by and received some criticism from local ILWU chapters and individual truckers.[46][47][48]

Protests in Downtown Portland[edit]

Occupy Portland organized a protest in downtown Portland on February 29, 2012 to protest the activities of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).[49] A wave of vandalism inspired by the action hit businesses in Northeast and Southeast Portland the night prior to the protest. Targets included a U.S. Bank branch and an ATM.[50]

The movement organized another downtown protest on March 13, 2012 to oppose H.R. 347. The resolution, passed by the House earlier that week, placed restrictions on public gatherings on federal property and adjacent land.[51]

Occupy Portland 24/7 Prayer Vigil, Nov. 2012

24/7 Prayer Vigil to Lift the Camping Ban[edit]

On December 1, 2011, a small group of evicted activists from Occupy Portland encampment set up a table on the plaza of the Portland City Hall and lit a candle, and called it 24/7 Prayer Vigil to Lift the Camping Ban, to draw attention to the city's anti-camping ordinances that were cited during the Occupy Portland eviction.[52] They said that the laws, which prohibit the use of "bedding, sleeping bags, or other sleeping matter,"[53] are immoral and that they were obligated to challenge them. The demonstrators claimed that sleep was a fundamental human right; that it was essential for mental, physical and emotional health, adding that human beings spend close to a third of their lives sleeping. They argued that prohibiting sleep by making it illegal for people to protect themselves and their belongings from the elements would cause sleep deprivation; that it is inhumane, unconstitutional, and amounts to torture.[54][55][56] The demonstrators said that the "prayer vigil" would stay on the plaza until "bedding matter" is again legal. The vigil was staffed around the clock [57] until July 23, 2013, when Mayor Charlie Hales ordered the removal of the vigil and associated encampments on the abutting sidewalks.

The vigil continued uninterrupted for 600 days, making this one of the only active encampments in the Occupy movement that survived well into the second year.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Suarez, Paul (October 7, 2011). "Police arrest two overnight in connection with Occupy Portland". The Columbian. Retrieved October 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Redden, Jim (October 12, 2011). "Police reopen Main Street between protest camps". Portland Tribune (Portland, Oregon: Pamplin Media Group). Retrieved October 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c UPDATED: Pearl District Occupation Ends with 27 Arrests. an October 30, 2011 blog post at Willamette Week
  4. ^ a b c d e Haberman, Margaret (October 6, 2011). "Occupy Portland hits town with cast of thousands for massive, peaceful demonstration". The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon: Advance Publications). ISSN 8750-1317. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Occupy Portland given deadline to leave downtown parks". November 10, 2011. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  6. ^ Redden, Jim (February 23, 2012). "Police overtime costs city about $2 million for protests". Portland Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Occupy Portland Calendar". Occupyportlandcalendar.org. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Occupy Portland". Occupyportland.org (Official website). Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  9. ^ Moore, Shasta Kearns (October 5, 2011). "How Occupy Wall Street (and maybe Occupy Portland) will fail". Portland Tribune. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Occupy Portland: Protesters march, begin to fill Pioneer Courthouse Square". The Oregonian. October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  11. ^ Winick, TJ (October 2, 2011). "Occupy Wall Street Protesters: We Are Americans". ABC News. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  12. ^ Blanchard, Dave (October 4, 2011). "Occupy Portland". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c d "Tentative plan allows demonstrators, marathoners to share parks". Portland, Oregon: KPTV. October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  14. ^ Giedwoyn, Antonia (October 6, 2011). "Downtown Portland Protest Expected To Disrupt Traffic". Oregon Public Broadcasting. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  15. ^ Baer, April (October 13, 2011). "Arrests Don't Derail 'Occupy Portland' Protests". Oregon Public Broadcasting. 
  16. ^ a b "Occupy Portland fears it has lost up to $20,000 in donations". The Oregonian. October 26, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2011. 
  17. ^ Police Arrest Dozens of Occupy Portland Protesters, CBS News, October 30, 2011
  18. ^ Cooke, Shamus (October 7, 2011). "Occupy Portland Is Born with Ten Thousand Strong". GlobalResearch.ca. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Occupy Portland: 10,000 march to protest Wall Street misrule". NWLaborPress.org. October 7, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Members of Laborers' Local 483, ILWU, IBEW, Roofers, Carpenters, Painters, IATSE, SEIU, Teamsters and many other unions joined in the Occupy Portland rally and march on Thursday, October 6". Facebook. October 7, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  21. ^ "AFSCME members join in the 'Occupy Portland' event". OregonAFSCME.com. October 7, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Dear Protesters of Occupy Portland". PortlandWiki.org. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Arrests made as Portland police clear Main Street in downtown". KOIN 6 News. October 13, 2011. Retrieved October 16, 2011. 
  24. ^ "Some want to expand protest; mayoral candidates weigh in". KATU. October 25, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2011. 
  25. ^ (November 01, 2011.) "Michael Moore visits Occupy Portland protesters." The Oregonian. Accessed November 2011.
  26. ^ a b Saker, Anne (November 01, 2011). "Occupy Portland considers returning to Schrunk Plaza, plans Wednesday rally in support of Oakland general strike." The Oregonian. Accessed November 2011.
  27. ^ "UPDATED: Obama White House told GSA to 'stand-down' on Occupy protesters". Washington Examiner. 7 August 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  28. ^ Humphrey, Wm. Steven (October 8, 2011). "Occupy Portland: Is There Such a Thing as "Too Much" Cooperation?". The Portland Mercury. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Occupy Portland march peaceful, arrest-free". Portland Business Journal. October 7, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Occupy Portland Collaborative talks". City of Portland. October 7, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  31. ^ Bailey Jr., Everton (October 8, 2011). "Occupy Portland march planned for Sunday; protesters agree not to disrupt marathon". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  32. ^ The Associated Press (October 8, 2011). "Occupy Portland march to follow marathoners". The Columbian. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  33. ^ Njus, Elliot (October 9, 2011). "Portland Marathon compromise brings biggest Occupy Portland demonstration since Thursday's debut march". The Oregonian. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Occupy Portland responds to unfavorable crime statistics". Fox 12 Oregon. October 21, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2011. 
  35. ^ a b c "Occupy Portland: Dozens arrested as camps torn apart (VIDEO)". RT. November 14, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  36. ^ a b c "Police close down Occupy Portland protest camp". BBC News. November 14, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Occupy Portland, riot police face off". PressTV. November 14, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  38. ^ "Police surround Occupy protesters in Oregon". The New Zealand Herald. NZHerald. November 14, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011. [dead link]
  39. ^ a b "Police move to clear out Oakland protest camp". Aljazeera. November 14, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2011. 
  40. ^ a b "Occupy Portland: Police raze camps, drive protesters from 2 squares". The Oregonian. November 13, 2011. 
  41. ^ Collins, Terry (November 15, 2011). "Oakland raid is latest in Occupy camp crackdowns". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  42. ^ "Occupy Portland Protesters Face Showdown With Police Over Eviction Order - The Huffington Post". Huffington Post. November 14, 2011. 
  43. ^ "'The Chew' review: ABC's new daytime food talk show tough to swallow". Daily News (New York). November 14, 2011. 
  44. ^ Parks cleared, arrests made: what’s next for Occupy Portland? | Local & Regional | KATU.com - Portland News, Sports, Traffic Weather and Breaking News - Portland, Oregon
  45. ^ Bryan, Wright. '"Occupy' Protesters Disrupt Ports in Oakland And Portland." NPR, Dec 12, 2011. Accessed Dec. 13, 2011. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/12/12/143581089/occupy-protesters-disrupt-ports-in-oakland-and-portland
  46. ^ Njus, Elliot. "Occupy Portland: Demonstrators shut down 2 Port of Portland terminals." The Oregonian. December 12, 2011. Accessed December 13, 2011. http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2011/12/occupy_portland_demonstrators.html
  47. ^ Murphy, Kim. "Occupy protests shut down 2 Portland terminals, spread to Seattle." Los Angelos Times. December 12, 2011. Accessed December 13, 2011. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/12/portland-port-shutdown-occupy-seattle.html
  48. ^ Foden-Vencil, Kristian. "Q&A: Will Port Shutdown Hurt Most The People It Wants To Help?" OPB News, December 12, 2011. Accessed December 13, 2011. http://news.opb.org/article/q-port-shutdown/?google_editors_picks=true
  49. ^ "Occupy protesters take to the streets, march against corporations." KATU News. 2/29/2012. Accessed 3/14/2012. http://www.katu.com/news/business/140965583.html
  50. ^ "Rocks shatter windows ahead of 'F29' march." KATU News. 2/29/2012. Accessed 3/14/2012. http://www.katu.com/news/business/Rocks-shatter-windows-at-banks-coffee-shops-140864923.html
  51. ^ "Occupy plans another rally and march in downtown Portland." KATU News. 3/13/2012. Accessed 2/29/2012. http://www.katu.com/news/local/Occupy-Portland-plans-rally-and-march-in-downtown-142537705.html
  52. ^ "Occupy Portland turns into a City Hall prayer vigil against anti-camping ordinance". The Oregonian. December 22, 2011. 
  53. ^ 14A.50.020 Camping Prohibited on Public Property and Public Rights of Way
  54. ^ Sleep Activist Wins in Court | Portland Occupier
  55. ^ Hall Monitor | Hall Monitor | Portland Mercury
  56. ^ "An activist records the goings-on at long-running anti-camping law protest in downtown Portland". The Oregonian. October 5, 2012. 
  57. ^ Keeping the Vigil | City | Portland Mercury

External links[edit]