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Police overtime costs city about $2 million for protests

Occupy Portland organizers plan more rallies, marches
by: CHRISTOPHER ONSTOTT Portland paid over $2 million in overtime costs for police officers during the nearly six weeks of Occupy-related protests last fall.

Portland police have already incurred more than $2 million in overtime costs for Occupy Portland-related protests - and another big one is planned for the end of the month.

Occupy Portland is participating in a 'national day of action' against corporate influence at state legislatures on Wednesday, Feb. 29. It begins with a morning rally and march from Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

According to police bureau statistics, $1.905 million in overtime costs were racked up during the nearly six-week period that included the beginning and end of the downtown camp. That includes $642,000 in overtime during the weekend of Nov. 12 and 13, when the camp in Chapman and Lownsdale squares was cleared.

Police are still compiling overtime figures for other Occupy-related events that have taken place since then, including the shutdown of several terminals at the Port of Portland on Dec. 12.

The figures do not include overtime costs incurred by other law enforcement agencies that sent officers to Portland to help evict the campers. Those costs are paid for by each agency under mutual aid agreements.

For example, Vancouver paid more than $30,000 in overtime to officers it sent to Portland on several occasions. Salem paid about $15,000 in overtime to officers it sent to Portland during the final weekend of the encampment in mid-November. Portland is paying overtime costs for officers it sent to Salem during an Occupy-related protest at the state Capitol.

Nor do the figures include the $85,500 in damages to the two downtown parks caused by the encampment. The Portland Parks Foundation has raised about $40,000 to cover the restoration costs. The Portland Business Alliance's Clean and Safe program donated an additional $4,500 to repair damage to the 1910 Elk sculpture between the squares that might have been caused by protesters.

Most of the overtime costs incurred during the initial march and encampment already have been paid, including those incurred during the Oct. 6 march that led to the six-week protest. The money came from a set-aside fund in the bureau's budget that includes money authorized for positions that were vacant for at least part of the fiscal year. The fund was projected at slightly less than $2.9 million at the beginning of the year.