Occupy Portland protesters chain themselves in Schrunk Plaza
- Jim Redden
- Portland Tribune - News
Update: Tensions rise at one-month anniversary mark
Occupy Portland protesters were busy during the weekend calling attention to themselves and their causes.
Among other things, 11 protesters attached themselves to a barrel filled with concrete and metal in Terry Schrunk Plaza late Saturday night. They were protesting the arrest of other protesters who tried to camp in the plaza the previous weekend. The plaza is owned by the federal government, which asked Portland police to remove the earlier campers.
The federal government did not immediately require the new protesters be removed, however. By Monday morning, several tents had been placed in the plaza.
Hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Portland on Saturday afternoon to urge people to move their money out of large banks and into small community banks and credit unions. The march was in support of "Move Your Money Day," a national protest.
The protest was not without incident, however. Two Hollywood bank branches were vandalized late Saturday. A group calling itself the 'Real Occupy Portland' took credit for the vandalism in an e-mail to police. The claim was later refuted by another group with that same name.
Real Occupy Portland had previously criticized some protesters for clashing with police at earlier demonstrations, saying such actions are contrary to the movement's peaceful message.
Police have continued to cite and arrest people associated with the Occupy Portland camp in Chapman and Lownsdale squares on charges unrelated to the protest movement. Two people were excluded from the parks for drug and alcohol use on Nov. 3. That same day, one man was arrested for drug possession and another for attempted assault and harassment.
Then on Nov. 4, officers responded to the report of a fight at Southwest Third Avenue and Salmon Street, where the camp is located. When officers arrived, the participants had been separated.
Several people wanted one of the participants removed from the park, but nobody provided details of the fight to officers and they all refused to press charges.
During the afternoon, there were several other fights reported to officers, but no victims or witnesses came forward to cooperate with police. That same day, officers arrested a person who had previously been excluded from the parks on criminal trespass charges.
Sunday was busy as well. Among other things, a 17-year-old runaway was taken into custody at Terry Schrunk Plaza and returned to her mother. A previous trespassing subject was arrested after menacing one of the camp's internal security staff with a hammer. He was booked into the Multnomah County Jail for Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree and Menacing.
Also on Nov. 6, Portland Fire and Rescue and Portland Police responded to reports of several small fires in the streets and sidewalks around Chapman and Lownsdale Square Parks. One man was arrested for Reckless Burning (3 counts), Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree, and two counts of Throwing Lighted Material on a Roadway. An additional subject was cited and excluded for Alcohol in the Park.
According to police, some protesters became enraged when Pizza Schmizza ran out of breadsticks with an order to the camp. They threatened to assault employees and vandalize the restaurant. A pedestrian walking by the camp at Southwest 4th Avenue and Salmon Street was confronted by several young people wearing bandanas over their faces. One of the suspects pulled a knife on him, while another attempted to punch him in the face. He fended off their attacks and was not injured. No one has yet been arrested in this incident.
And in the early morning hours of Nov. 7, Portland police assisted camp safety staff with multiple but minor skirmishes within the parks.
Protesters have been camping in the squares since an Oct. 6 rally and march opposed to corporate greed and income inequality. Despite city policies against public camping, Mayor Sam Adams has allowed them to stay, saying he was committed to protecting their free speech rights.