Occupy Portland marks one year anniversary - KPTV - FOX 12

Occupy Portland marks one year anniversary

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Occupy Portland will be marking one year since their movement spread through the streets of downtown.

This weekend's events are planned for the local demonstration's anniversary, and organizers say they expect to ramp up actions this fall ahead of Election Day.

"We're a young, new movement and are figuring out what it looks like to continue to fight against inequality of wealth and power," said Kari Koch of Occupy Portland.

Plans for this fall come as the aftereffects of last year's demonstrations are still playing out. On Friday, attorneys for demonstrator Liz Nichols filed a complaint against the city of Portland and officers Jeffrey McDaniel and Doris Paisley, claiming excessive force.

A photograph captured the moment Nichols says she was pepper sprayed by police during the "Occupy the Banks" demonstration last Nov. 17.

Nichols declined to speak at a news conference announcing the suit, but her attorneys with the Portland Law Collective, say they're seeking about $150,000 in damages for physical pain as well as emotional harm.

The complaint claims she was pushed in the neck with a police baton, then yelled at an officer that the "action was inappropriate."  As she was speaking, another officer sprayed pepper spray in her face and mouth, and Nichols collapsed on the sidewalk, according to the complaint.

"I don't think it's about the money for Ms. Nichols or for us, but to make people in Portland feel safe when they're trying to express their views," said attorney Benjamin Haile.

Portland police say they cannot comment on the pending suit, but last year they released their own video of the protest. Officers say they were trying to keep people on the sidewalks during a dangerous situation and repeatedly told demonstrators, including Nichols, to disperse.

As for this weekend's anniversary demonstration in Southwest Portland's Shemanski Park, police say they don't anticipate major problems.

"We know there's a certain amount of animosity with some of the demonstrators, but over the past few months, we really haven't had the level of demonstrators that we had last year," said Sgt. Pete Simpson of the Portland Police Bureau.

But despite the lull, organizers say Occupy demonstrators are still unhappy with a lack of change, something that will be expressed leading up to Election Day.

"That discontentment is only going to continue to grow, and I think it will manifest itself in the streets," said Koch. "I think the option for occupying space is always on the table and reclaiming space is a critical component of challenging what we see as the disfunction of the system."

Saturday's "Occupy Portland Not Afghanistan" rally and march at Shemanski Park begins at noon through 5 p.m. Occupy Portland one year anniversary begins at 6 p.m. through 9 p.m.

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