Mayor says Occupy protest police overtime well spent
Portland police spent more than $450,000 during the weekend to close the Occupy Portland camp in two downtown city parks.
Mayor Sam Adams says the money was 'well spent' because police were able to move campers out of Chapman and Lownsdale squares with what he called a minimum of force.
The cost of the weekend action is in addition to the $316,000 or more that the Portland Police Bureau has already spent for overtime since the start of the Oct. 6 rally and march that led to the camps.
Speaking after a Monday afternoon press conference called to discuss the weekend activities, Adams said the police bureau does not have $450,000 in its overtime budget, let alone the minimum of $766,000 that has been incurred so far. And the number is expected to rise because overtime bills are still coming in and many officers are still working extra hours in anticipation of other protests.
Adams said that police layoffs to pay for the overtime are not a possibility. Instead, Adams said he would discuss the situation with the City Council after the next budget forecast in about four weeks.
'We'll deal with it then,' Adams said.
Adams told reporters Monday afternoon that he was proud of how the police handled the 5½-week Occupy camp and eviction, saying campers were moved out as peacefully as possible, especially compared to other cities like Oakland, where police have used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets on protesters.
Chief Mike Reese also praised the officers, saying police never intended to evict the camps at the 12:01 a.m. Sunday deadline Adams gave last week, but planned to wait for an opportunity to clear the squares as easily as possible.
That happened around 9 a.m. Sunday after most of the protesters, their supporters and the thousands of onlookers who gathered around midnight had left.
Adams said he would not allow protesters to set up any other camps on city property. Instead, he called for the Occupy Wall Street movement, whose goals he supports, to transition to something new.
'People have limited patience and they're going to grow tired of it if it doesn't start working on some national and international issues,' Adams said.