Portland mayor to Occupy Portland: It's time to go
Time appears to be up for Occupy Portland. The Oregon city's mayor has ordered the local Occupy demonstration to leave two downtown parks by midnight Saturday or face arrests.
Mayor Sam Adams said the encampment, which began in early October, has become dangerous, a health hazard and a haven for criminals.
“Occupy has had considerable time to share its movement's messages with the public, but has lost control of the camps it created,” Adams said at a news conference Thursday. “The cost to the larger community is rapidly increasing.”
Adams expressed support for the movement and its ideals, but said that health and sanitation issues and an uptick in crime in and around the camp have become too much to sustain.
The tipping point came in recent days with the arrest of an Occupy Portland demonstrator who allegedly set off a Molotov cocktail outside an office building and with two non-fatal drug overdoses in the camp, he said.
Similar problems have been reported around the country. A 35-year-old man was reportedly shot Thursday at an Occupy camp in Vermont.
“I cannot wait for someone to die in the camp,” Adams said, according to the Associated Press. “I cannot wait for someone to use the camp as camouflage to inflict bodily harm on others.”
Lownsdale and Chapman squares will be closed to the public beginning at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. City officials will make repairs and upon its reopening the city will enforce all laws against camping and erecting structures, the mayor said.
“We will be prepared to make arrests,” said Adams, according to the AP. “My preference would be that we don't have to.”
The demonstrators were previously granted a waiver to camp at the park.
“It is my sincere hope that the movement, with its focus on widespread economic inequity, will flourish in its next phase — a phase where we can focus all of our energies on economic and social justice, not on port-a-potties and tents,” Adams said.
He added: “I believe Occupy Portland can lead the nation in this next phase of the Occupy Movement, and I personally look forward to working with participants toward their broader goals.”
-- Stephen Ceasar
Photo: An unidentified person walks through the Occupy Portland encampment on Thursday in Oregon. Credit: Rick Bowmer