Portland Mayor Sam Adams has ordered Occupy Portland to clear out of two
downtown parks by 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
Closing the camps at Chapman and Lownsdale squares will "put an end to
safety, health and crime problems," Adams said, after a one-week span of
drug overdoses, a Molotov cocktail incident and a march where a police officer
was pushed into a moving TriMet bus.
"Occupy has had considerable time to share its movement's
messages," Adams said. "But it has lost control of the camps it has
The parks will be temporarily closed for restoration after they're cleared
of all people and property, Adams said. Once those parks reopen, all park laws
will be enforced.
Police Chief Mike Reese said the police bureau hopes for "a very
peaceful resolution to this."
"We're going to do everything we can to really work with folks in an
open and honest dialog to facilitate the restoration of the parks," Reese
Reese would not comment on the police bureau's tactical plan to remove
anyone who ignores the eviction notice, but city officials said they plan to
stay in contact with Occupy Portland organizers up until the deadline in order
to help them leave the parks.
"We will be prepared to make arrests, but my preference would be that
we didn't have to," Adams said.
A handful of protesters also remain at Terry Schrunk Plaza, a federal park,
but Adams said those protesters will have to leave, too.
Doors to Portland's City Hall were locked as a precaution Thursday after the
announcement of the deadline, but there was not a major immediate reaction from
those at the Occupy Portland camp just a couple blocks away.
"I think most people will be willing to leave when they're ordered too.
There will definitely be some people who will participate in civil
disobedience," Nathan Heustis of Occupy Portland.
"We have three days to get everyone on the same page. Occupy
Portland has been and continues to be a non-violent movement. That's one of our
core principals," said Heustis.
However, Heustis and other Occupy organizers acknowledges that not all
demonstrators are dedicated to the mission of the larger movement.
"It's beginning to become a situation that's clearly out of our
hands," he told Fox 12.
Occupy Portland first created its tent city Oct. 6 after a march across
Pressure to end the camps in Chapman and Lownsdale squares started to mount
this week as police reported the increase in crime.
Over the last five weeks, police overtime costs related to the encampment
reached $316,000, and city officials have grown more concerned about health and
"We have sought to be as supportive as we possibly can, but I cannot
wait for someone to die in the camp," said Adams.
Starting Thursday, officers and outreach workers began circulating written
notices which detail the Sunday deadline and resources available to the
homeless population living at Occupy Portland.
"We're not going to talk about our tactical plan right now," said Police
Chief Mike Reese. "We're still working
on it, but again, we're going to be very deliberate and methodical as we move
into the parks."
The Chief says officers will communicate their intentions, but city leaders have not revealed specific details regarding how they plan to remove people who don't want to
"I think that the large number of people who are there will leave, but there
will be a group of people who want to get into a confrontation," retired
Portland police captain C.W. Jensen told Fox 12.
Jensen says he believes police will do everything they can to make it a "benign
event," but he says he worries a small group of protesters could put officers'
safety at risk.
The Portland Police Association says precautions will be
taken to protect officers' physical safety and health, which will include the use of riot gear.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:03 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:03:10 GMT
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