Adams: Occupy Portland not sustainable

Mayor does not threaten specific city action

Mayor Sam Adams has sent an open letter to Occupy Protest saying the current encampment behind City Hall is not sustainable.

In the Nov. 7 letter, Adams noted recent police and other reports of drug and alcohol abuse, violence and other criminal behavior in the camp. Adams said the conduct must be immediately addressed, although he did not say what the city would do if the problems persist.

Instead, Adams said he and the protesters must figure out what the 'next phase' of its movement looks like.

Protesters have been camping in Chapman and Lownsdale squares since the end of an Oct. 6 march through downtown called to protest corporate greed. Although the city has policies against public camping, Adams has allowed the protesters to remain, citing their free-speech rights.

Some protesters have said they plan to remain in the squares indefinitely.

Here is the text of Adams' letter.

To the Occupy Portland encampment:

I know that you agree that the growing number of arrests and reports of illicit drug and alcohol use, violent behavior and other criminal conduct must be immediately addressed. I understand that similar challenges have arisen at other Occupy encampments. Uniquely, I appreciate that Occupy Portland, via the website, is one of the few encampments to clearly note these challenges.

Thanks you for meeting with representatives of the police bureau, my staff, non-profit service providers, and me to discuss concerns and potential solutions face-to-face.

The purpose of this open letter is to underscore to all Occupy Portland supporters the urgency of dealing with these issues. The way things are operating now is not sustainable.

I know there is a nationwide Occupy process for working through those things, which I want to give some time to work. But we cannot wait long.

It is imperative that solving these serious problems be a priority for Occupy Portland, before a serious injury or death occurs. I do not want to see something like the following incidents occur in Portland, and I and #8217;m sure you do not, either:

• In Vancouver, B.C., there has been a death in camp that is a suspected drug overdose; and,

• In Washington D.C., protesters have reportedly been the victims of two hit-and-run incidents.

I have said from the beginning that I believe the Occupy movement would have to evolve in order to realize its full potential. Based on my conversations with mayors around the country, I know that Portland is not unique in facing these real issues around camps. But I hope we are unique in our solutions. In Bend, Oregon, Occupy participants have closed their camp, but continue to meet regularly. I believe Occupy Portland can lead the nation in figuring out what the next phase of the Occupy Movement looks like.

We've got work to do - and by we, I mean everybody, including all Occupy supporters. I look forward to finding solutions in the coming days.


Sam Adams