PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Officers performed a sweep Thursday morning of two downtown parks where protesters had gathered.
At 5 a.m., police announced that Chapman Square Park and Lownsdale Square Park, located side by side to each other, were closed and informed everyone in the parks that they had ten minutes to leave or be subject to arrest for trespassing or use of force.
Twenty minutes after issuing the notice, police said that those who had been in the parks had left.
FOX 12 spoke to protesters who said the call to leave came as a big surprise.
"At around sunrise, police decided to - without declaring an unlawful assembly and without declaring a riot, just remove the people who were sitting in the park. And you see them all now forced on the side of the street," Adi said.
"It was completely peaceful. I ate some food from there - I had potatoes. Pretty good," said Angelique. "And I was talking to some people then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, they declared that the public park was closed. They never stated the reason why, or at least I never heard the reason why.
Protesters say they were in the park to stand up against police brutality and racial injustice.
The parks are now “closed until a later date,” according to police.
The Portland Police Bureau said that officers enforced the clearing of the parks since the City of Portland issued the temporary closure.
Construction crews appear to be putting up a fence around the parks, after @PortlandPolice cleared them with the help of @MultCoSO. Police say city crews will be working to clean up extensive damage inside the parks. No timeline on when they will reopen @fox12oregon pic.twitter.com/lRNZ1iqZIM— Amber Wilmarth (@amberwilmarth) July 16, 2020
The parks will now receive “needed repairs” and will reopen when they are ready for “all to enjoy,” police said.
Portland Parks & Recreation said the following on the closure for repairs:
"The City has temporarily closed Chapman and Lownsdale Squares (under City Code Title 20.12.190) to conduct necessary repairs and maintenance. Public restrooms in the parks were closed but have been broken into and vandalized and are no longer functional. The parks’ grass, benches, public art, and other park amenities have been severely vandalized, and need immediate attention.
Portland Parks & Recreation staff work hard to maintain and repair public assets. Parks are community spaces which belong to everyone, and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are safe for all community members, and well-cared for as community gathering spaces and environmental assets.
The park closures will remain in effect until the City determines that the areas are safe and that repairs and replacement have been completed."
The closure extends to the curb lines surrounding the parks, police said, so pedestrians are urged to use the sidewalks across from the parks instead.
Chapman Square Park and Lownsdale Square Park are located a block from the Justice Center.
Protests outside and near the Justice Center have been ongoing since late May.
Portland police said that nine people were arrested Thursday:
- Megan Smith, 36, on charges of interfering with a police officer and second-degree trespassing
- Kristina Narando-Rivera, 34, on a charge of second-degree disorderly conduct
- Parker Giles, 25, on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer
- Carly Ballard, 34, on charges of second-degree disorderly conduct and interfering with a Police Officer
- Andrew Duran, 18, on charges of interfering with a police officer and second-degree trespassing
- Brandon Thomas, 36, on charges of interfering with a police officer and second-degree trespassing
- Lauren Davis, 29, on a charge of second-degree disorderly conduct
- Krystin Brunson, 33, on a charge of interfering with a police officer
- Brandon Paape, 30, on a charge of interfering with a police officer
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