Tag Archives: Occupy Portland

Occupy Portland and Mayor Adams take the high road

The Occupy Portland movement, which has been the focus of much discourse and debate since it was launched on October 6th, faces its first possible confrontation tonight.  Mayor Sam Adams has issued an eviction order to those camping in Chapman and Lownsdale squares effective at midnight tonight.

Outside Occupy Portland November 5th, 2011

Mayor Adams issued the order after a Molotov cocktail had been thrown at the World Trade Center by someone allegedly from the camp.  The Mayor has cited generally rising crime and reports of drug overdoses in and around the camp as additional reasons for ordering that the camp be disbanded.

“I cannot wait for someone to use the camp as camouflage to inflict bodily harm on others,” said Adams in his November 10th statement.

The Mayor has taken what anyone outside of Portland would have considered an unusual step of giving the protesters three days to dismantle the camp.  The protestors, in turn, have complained that three days is too little time.

It is admirable how both sides, the Mayor and police as well as the protesters, have strived to maintain the dignity of and respect for what the protestors are striving to accomplish.

By placing the focus of the action on public safety, Adams appears to be accomplishing what few mayors in the country have been able to do:  Order a peaceful transition of the Occupy Portland movement from the outside.

In a gesture that speaks to the maturity of the Occupy Portland movement, it appears that a majority of those taking part in the protest camps are heeding Mayor Adam’s eviction notice.

By choosing to embrace and cooperate with the Occupy movement, the City of Portland has a chance to not only peacefully dismantle the camps, which threaten to become a public safety hazard, but to give those drawn to the Occupy movement a model of truly peaceful and powerful resistance in place of the confrontation which has marred gatherings in other cities.

True lasting change can only come about through the superiority of ideas, not arms or the willingness to engage in violence.  This is something that Portlanders, whether they occupy a tent in Chapman Square or a house on NE Glisan, can all agree on.

Occupy Portland: Widespread Discontent meets Acceptance in Portland

On October 6th, Portland joined other US cities by kicking off its own version of the increasingly popular Occupy Wall Street protests with approximately 5,000 people amassing at Tom McCall Waterfront Park where SW Ankeny meets Naito Parkway.  While no specific manifesto has come forth, the group generally comes across as unified against corporate greed and corruption.

Approaching Occupy Portland’s ground zero, it became apparent that the perhaps the only thing that unified this loose coalition of protesters was a general feeling of discontent.  It was equally apparent that general discontent can be a powerful unifying force, and that as the marches and occupation got underway, the protesters found in one another the camaraderie that is inherent in common struggle and sacrifice.

Amongst the many and varied grievances that could be observed by reading the protesters’ signs, flags, and slogans, were:  support for the cause of the Palestinians, pleas to tax the rich, outrage against corporate greed, and long-suffering environmental concerns.   While these grievances have been longstanding for certain sectors of the population, what was most striking was the breadth of demographic and socio-economic makeup of those gathering to launch Occupy Portland.

Protesters of all Stripes Gathering to kick off Occupy Portland on Thursday, October 6th 2011


While students resembling John Lennon and Guy Fawkes masks tended to stand out in the crowd, the presence of veterans, college students, retirees, and stay at home mothers spoke to the wide ranging discontent that has gripped Americans who are increasingly identifying themselves as the “other 99%” in sharp contrast to the top 1%, the label that has come to represent the wealthy and corporate interests.

As the exuberance of the protesters grew and their numbers at Waterfront Park began to swell, a few blocks away, up Burnside and 5th, the mood was quite different.

Despite assurances by both the protesters and Portland Mayor Sam Adams that the protests would be peaceful, financial and governmental institutions, which imagined themselves in the path of the unannounced route of the march, were taking precautions.  Banks planned to lock their doors and the increased Police and private security presence in the neighborhood was conspicuous.

There were rumors of Anarchists from Eugene coming to cause trouble.  Adding to this perceived threat was the uncertainty of the effects on transportation in the downtown core.  Needless to say, on this autumn day, Portland did not feel like the relaxed City in which we dwell.

Thankfully, these fears were unfounded.  Both Protesters and Police are to be commended for tacitly working together to maintain the peace and dignity of the protest.  Mayor Adams went as far as to waive the City’s no camping ordinance so that protesters could pitch their tents and stay the night.

Whatever the outcome, it is refreshing to see that Occupy Portland is helping so many people to find their voice and the City of Portland, true to form, welcoming them with open arms.