Police arrest Occupy Portland protesters, clear Main Street - KPTV - FOX 12

Police arrest 8 Occupy Portland protesters, clear way on Main Street

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Protesters sat in the middle of a downtown Portland street until police removed them Thursday. Protesters sat in the middle of a downtown Portland street until police removed them Thursday.

Portland police cleared the way on Southwest Main Street this morning, arresting eight Occupy Portland protesters who refused to remove their blockade.

Mayor Sam Adams and police asked for the protesters' cooperation in getting the street reopened earlier this week, but the group held its ground until police officers moved in at 6 a.m.

The eight protesters were taken into custody on charges of disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer, both misdemeanors.

"We've been really clear. We want these roads open so traffic can move through the downtown core," said Lt. Robert King.

VIDEO: 'We had to take action to keep city going,' police say

The before and after of Southwest Main Street

On Wednesday night, Occupy Portland demonstrators voted to allow buses, bikes and emergency vehicles to pass through, but they still planned to block regular traffic.

That wasn't good enough for police, who consider Main Street a major traffic corridor in downtown Portland.

"That was a suggestion and it was impractical for us," King said.

While Main Street has been cleared of the protesters, King said police have no intention of going into Chapman and Lownsdale squares in downtown Portland to interrupt the group's encampment there.

"We're not entering the parks this morning," King said. "We're not making arrests in the park."

Occupy Portland demonstrators did not attempt to take back Main Street after the arrests. A tweet from the OccupyPortland Twitter account said, "absolutely minimal protest from within the camp, where the majority wanted Main liberated."

Brandon Lee, 30; Brad Whisler, 32; John Saunder, 32; Ashley Jackson, 22; Keller Henry, 34; Jacquelyn Miller, 41; Joshua Macnayr, 29; and Andrew Barnick, 24, were all booked into jail in connection with the Main Street blockade.

Thursday marks one week since Occupy Portland started its demonstration in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. While camping in the parks of downtown Portland is illegal, Adams said there are no plans to break up the encampment.

"I really appreciate those in the camp who have been willing to focus on their core mission, which is to raise very important issues that are troubling this nation," Adams said. "That has nothing to do with blocking Main Street."

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