Occupy park repair bill: $85,850
- Jim Redden
- Portland Tribune - News
City also spent $45,000 for labor and materials during protest encampment
It will cost at least $85,850 to repair the damage to Chapman and Lownsdale squares caused by Occupy Portland campers.
Portland Parks and Recreation announced the figure Wednesday morning after staff and contractors surveyed the two parks near City Hall. The announcement also said the long-term impact on trees in the parks will not be known until next spring. The Regional Arts and Culture is also still assessing damage to the artwork in the squares.
The nonprofit Portland Parks Foundation has launched a drive to raise private funds for the repairs. It has so far received a $25,000 contribution from Umpqua Bank and donations of between $10 and $100 from around 100 people totaling about $8,000.
According to PP and R, the city has not been forced to repair damages in the squares caused by group activities for the past five years. The most recent cost was $602 for damages caused by the Portland Marathon in 1994. The marathon had taken out a permit for the squares and reimbursed the city for the cost.
According to Wednesday's announcement, PP and R incurred an $45,000 in labor and material costs during the nearly six-week encampment. These costs were specifically related to managing it and the resulting cleanup efforts, the announcement says.
Protesters set up camp in the squares on Oct. 6 following a rally and march through downtown called to protest Wall Street greed. Mayor Sam Adams allowed them to stay in the square, despite city policies against public camping. They were not evicted by police until Nov. 13.
The assessment was conducted by city staff with expertise in ecology, turf, and structural engineering. Arborists, plumbing contractors, electricians, risk management employees and other experts also evaluated the condition of the squares.
According to the assessment, repair work will include reseeding the grassy areas of the square, replacing two benches and renovating seven others, repairing sewer and electrical lines in the two restroom in the squares, and removing graffiti. No evidence of obvious soil contamination was found.
The city will now establish a schedule for the repairs. Although grass seeds cannot be spread until the Spring, discussions are underway on opening at least a portion of the squares to the public earlier.
The damage is nearly three times larger than Tom McCall Waterfront Park sustained in all of 2010. The city only spent $30,991 to repair Waterfront Park after five large events were staged there over a three-month period that year. Waterfront Park is engineered to recover quickly from heavy use.
Event organized reimbursed the city for the costs. The events and their payments were: Cinco de Mayo, $842; Rose Festival, $12,198; Blues Festival, $6,521; Brewer's Festival, $26,185; and the Bite of Portland, $6,335.
Although some protesters promised to help repair the squares, they are unable to account for approximately $14,000 raised during the encampment.