Hours after deadline, Occupy Portland protesters remain at park - KPTV - FOX 12

Hours after deadline, Occupy Portland protesters back at camp

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Cameron Matta, 23, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, harassment and interfering with a police officer. Cameron Matta, 23, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, harassment and interfering with a police officer.

Portland police continued their wait-it-out approach Sunday morning, hours after the 12:01 a.m. eviction deadline passed for Occupy Portland protesters to be out of downtown parks.

Thousands gathered in the streets surrounding Chapman and Lownsdale squares as the deadline hit, but the massive crowd - estimated at 3,000 people - remained peaceful nearly the entire night.

Tensions did flare at around 1:45 a.m. and an officer was hit by a projectile as police were trying to keep Third Avenue and Main Street clear for traffic. The officer's injuries were not serious.

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The standoff between police and Occupy Portland protesters then continued for hours, and tensions seemed to lift. The crowd appeared to be in a celebratory mood, dancing and singing in the street.

Temporarily, they blocked a street with a barricade, but then dismantled it when asked by police.

By 6:45 a.m., the crowd had dispersed, no streets were being blocked and the Occupy Portland protesters declared victory as they returned to the city parks.

"We wanted to keep these parks," said Occupy spokesman Jordan Ledoux. "And the police let us keep the parks."

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Mayor Sam Adams gave the Occupiers an eviction notice last week when he said Occupy "lost control" of the camps it created. In recent weeks, there have been multiple drug overdoses, a Molotov cocktail incident and a march where a Portland police officer was pushed into a moving TriMet bus. The police bureau also reported an overall increase in crime.

But there's still no word on a precise time when the parks will be cleared.

Adams said police are still waiting to find the safest way and safest time to enforce the park eviction.

"Parks are going to be closed to the public effective when the police bureau feels it can be done in a peaceful and successful way," he said.

When it's appropriate, a fence will go up around the park, he said.

There appeared to be clean-up efforts under way at the park Sunday -- both by Occupiers and police -- as the city continued to take a peaceful, patient approach.

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