Has the media made too big a deal about the early $60,000 in damages to Chapman and Lownsdale squares caused by Occupy Portland, considering the damages caused to Tom McCall Waterfront Park by such annual events as the Portland Rose Festival?

Since the city evicted the protesters in mid-November, several people have called to say that Waterfront Park from the Morrison Bridge to Ankeny Street has been fenced off for repairs since August.

Turns out that's not a fair comparison, though. The fencing is part of a separate renovation project from the annual repair work required after the events. But several of the groups that sponsor them are paying half the $323,128 cost of the project. The largest donor is the Rose Festival, which has pledged $100,000. Other donors are the organizations that sponsor the Cinco De Mayo Festival, the Bite of Oregon, the Oregon Brewers Festival, the Shamrock Run and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Those donations are in addition to the repair costs that most of the organizations pay every year after their events. Last year that totaled nearly $31,000. The groups also paid more than $265,000 in park rental fees that went into the city's general fund.

Occupy Blue Heron, not the port

Occupy protesters say they speak for the 99 percent, including the working class. That claim will be tested on Dec. 12 if protesters go ahead with their announced plan to shut down the shipping ports on the West Coast. In a series of emails, organizers claim to have the support of dockworkers.

But International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union President Robert McEllarth says his organization is not backing the strike. And that goes for the ILWU local that represents dockworkers at the Port of Portland.

'We support the goals of the Occupy protesters but we are not supportive or participating in the shutdown of the West Coast ports,' says Jeff Smith, president of ILWU Local 8, adding that his members will not honor any picket lines set up by Occupy protesters. 'We have to go to work.'

Officials with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701 in Gladstone got involved in the argument on Tuesday, saying they wouldn't support the Occupy Portland port closure plan.

The union, which represents about 4,200 heavy equipment operators who sometimes work at port terminals, says the Occupy Portland/Wall Street movement was right to highlight the income inequality issue, just as long as it doesn't shut down the port and its local jobs.

Instead of trying to shut down the ports, IUOE Local 701's Business Manager Mark Holliday recommended that the Occupy Portland group stage its protest outside the shuttered Blue Heron Paper Co. mill in downtown Oregon City. That closure 'cost over 150 local union jobs and resulted in the manufacturing equipment and jobs being exported overseas,' Holliday says.

Look for the (right) union label(s)

Oops. Sources made a mistake when reporting that City Commissioner Amanda Fritz has many more union endorsements than her major opponent state Rep. Mary Nolan.

Turns out, we were looking at Fritz's 2008 campaign website. The truth is Fritz only has two endorsements, the Oregon Nurses Association and the Communication Workers of America Local 7901.

That's still twice as many as Nolan, who recently sent a press release touting her International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48 endorsement, but it's nearly as many as we said.

Fritz called to point out the error. She hopes to pick up more union endorsements as the campaign continues.

Meanwhile, Fritz has loaned her campaign another $25,000. That means Fritz has now loaned her campaign $50,000 and only raised about $13,000 in private contributions. That's what happens when you limit contributions to $50, we guess.

Nolan has not limited contributions and so far raised slightly more than $124,000.

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