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Mayor, police chief are on a mission to make a point

When Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis and Gresham Police Chief Craig Junginger made their way into downtown Portland on Thursday morning, they were on a mission to make a point, not collect on a debt.

Let's back up for just a minute. Earlier in the week, two Gresham police officers were in a downtown Portland courtroom testifying during a domestic violence case. Their patrol cars were on the street near the Occupy Portland camps. And one of the campers decided to make a political statement by hitting both cars with his hammer - causing more than $1,500 damage.

That inspired Bemis and Junginger to hand-deliver an invoice to the Occupy camp under the pretense of seeking compensation for the damage.

But we doubt that Gresham will ever see a dime from the occupiers, or that this effort was truly serious about collecting that money in the first place. Let's face it: Who exactly among this loose association of protesters is authorized to write and sign the check?

More likely, this 'billing' was simply an orchestrated effort to draw attention to how far this protest has strayed from its original intent. At the beginning, it supposedly was about opposing corporate greed and government bailouts of the rich. The occupy movement claimed to represent a majority - in fact, fully 99 percent of Americans who ostensibly were standing up and saying 'no more' to the 1 percent of Americans who control the nation's wealth.

For a brief period of time, the Occupy Portland effort was peaceful and focused on its message. But in the weeks that followed, the encampment devolved to the point where its members were anything but representative of the typical American. Infiltrators introduced crime and a brand of greed all their own to the camps.

Gresham probably won't ever see a dime in compensation for the damage done to the patrol cars. But Bemis and Junginger were successful in reminding everyone involved that personal responsibility and accountability apply not only to the nation's top 1 percent, but to 100 percent of Americans.