Occupy movement plans 'permanent encampment' at Mt. Tabor Park - KPTV - FOX 12

Occupy movement plans 'permanent encampment' at Mt. Tabor Park

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The occupy movement has a new local target: Mt. Tabor Park.

A movement called "Camp Cascadia/Occupy Mt. Tabor" held a demonstration at the park located at Southeast 60th and Salmon Street Friday evening.

The group then setup camp and plans to remain at the park for a "permanent encampment" until their demands are met.

Those demands revolve around a federal mandate from the Environmental Protection Agency that requires the city of Portland to cover its drinking water reservoirs to protect against contamination.

City leaders released information about the situation saying they have repeatedly sought to delay or avoid the "LT2" mandate, however, a federal court and the Oregon Health Authority have consistently rejected those appeals.

With deadlines looming, the city is moving forward compliance, which includes disconnecting Mt. Tabor open-air reservoirs once the enclosed reservoirs at Powell Butte and Kelly Butte are complete. The deadline to disconnect Mt. Tabor reservoirs is Dec. 31, 2015.

The Occupy Mt. Tabor group's website said the point of their demonstration is to show "our local politicians and city leaders just how serious we are about our water. We are the people who pay the taxes, the water bills, and the wages of politicians and city employees."

"We are Portland. We pay your salaries. We demand clean water," the group's statement said.

The group is demanding city leaders formally invite Sen. Jeff Merkley and Rep. Earl Blumenauer to petition on the city's behalf for an EPA LT2 waiver.

"We welcome people who wish to assemble peacefully and exercise their First Amendment rights," stated Mayor Charlie Hales. "We ask that demonstrators who come to Mt. Tabor to express their views also respect the park and follow park rules, so that everyone can enjoy it safely.

The mayor also stated the city is taking all necessary steps to keep Portland's drinking water safe.

Portland Parks & Recreation workers said they reached out to organizers of the demonstration, who did not secure a permit.

Rules of the park include no camping, no structures without a permit and adhering to park hours. The park is closed from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m.

A Portland Parks & Recreation spokesman said while people who are not part of the demonstration can still enjoy the park on bike or on foot, maintenance staff has closed the park roads to vehicles due to the gathering.

Portland police arrested one man Friday afternoon in connection with the demonstration. Officers said Michael Meo, 66, was putting up signs, which is against park rules, and was told to leave the park. He refused and was arrested on charges of criminal trespass, according to police.

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