Occupy Portland Camps – Portland police take back two parks from the Occupy movement and evicted several camps. They also seized Lownsdale and Chapman squares from protesters who have been camped at the site for the past six weeks. Officers swept into the public parks after a Saturday night of brinksmanship with protesting crowds that swelled into the thousands.
Sunday evening, crowds moved to Pioneer Courthouse Square, but police have said they will not allow protesters to occupy any more public parks.
The predawn confrontation that Occupy protesters prepared for this weekend unfolded instead in daylight hours Sunday, after throngs of supporters had gone home to sleep and at a time when bleary-eyed campers were caught unaware.
Portland police successfully cleared the two downtown parks where protesters had camped since Oct. 6, but the evictions sparked an hourslong standoff as protesters spilled into the streets and filled Pioneer Courthouse Square into the evening.The cooperative, communicative spirit that marked much of the city’s dealings with the Portland crowd appeared to fracture as police shoved campers out of the parks and some campers responded with profane taunts and called officers “Nazis.” And protesters, who believed they had gained a reprieve to stay in the parks just hours earlier, were left debating how best to keep their movement alive.
“The parks are gone, but the consciousness has not died,” said Gina Ronning, an Occupy Portland organizer who expressed frustration with those challenging the police instead of focusing on new initiatives. “We have momentum, but we need to channel it.”
Exactly how they will — and whether they will seek another park to gain long-term, as some suggested — remains to be seen. Police Chief Mike Reese said it’s “not appropriate” to allow protesters to occupy another park. Neither police nor Mayor Sam Adams offered much detail on what steps they will take next in dealing with the movement.
One of the movement’s supporters, Andrew Wilkins, 36, of Portland, said Occupy had to focus on “basic needs” at the moment.