Fish says Occupy Portland is damaging downtown parks
Monday letter says $19,000 in damages already done to Chapman and Lownsdale squares
Portland Parks Commissioner Nick Fish is warning Occupy Portland protesters that their occupation is damaging Chapman and Lownsdale squares by camping in the small downtown parks.
The two squares are within a block of City Hall. In a letter sent to Occupy Portland, Fish says Portland Parks and Recreation employees estimate the camps have already caused more than $19,000 in damages. It will take several months for the parks to recover after the protesters leave, according to Fish's letter.
'Chapman and Lownsdale Squares are part of a complex and fragile urban ecosystem - an ecosystem now threatened by your continued encampments,' Fish wrote Monday. 'The parks were not designed to support encampments.'
Between 200 and 400 protesters set up camps in the parks at the end of an Oct. 6 rally and march to protest Wall Street greed. Although city ordinances prohibit camping in city parks, Mayor Sam Adams has allowed the protesters to stay as a way to avoid potentially violent clashes with police.
Some protesters have said they intend to remain in the parks indefinitely.
In his letter, Fish called for the protesters to work with parks bureau employees to minimize additional damage.
'Parks belong to everyone,' Fish wrote. 'The cost to restore the damage to our parks will not be borne by Wall Street bankers but by Portland taxpayers. These are the very people Occupy Portland is attempting to engage and represent.'