I’ve watched and listened with interest to the news about Occupy Portland this weekend.
We were in Portland on Saturday night and this morning visiting our daughters. We watched the news late last news and early this morning, when police and prot
esters started the massive effort of clearing stuff out of the parks. About 12:30 this afternoon we were on Third Avenue near the parks starting our drive back to Albany when a police officer directed traffic east away from the parks. In the distance, I could see the Occupy general assembly meeting on the edge of the park nearest to us.
It got tense after that, with 50 people arrested. But apparently protesters eventually marched six blocks to Pioneer Courthouse Square where about 500 were assembled an hour ago, according to an OPB radio reporter. One guy who had been part of the Occupy Portland encampment from the start said he
was going to stay for a few more hours, then go home and go to sleep. He said Occupy Portland would look at other strategies.
If things stay peaceful tonight — and I sure hope they do — city officials and Occupy protesters around the country may look to Portland as a model for ending their encampments without violence.
From everything I’ve read and heard the Portland police showed amazing restraint Saturday night and this morning. And so did the protesters, who declared victory.
And Mayor Sam Adams showed leadership, giving the 12:01 a.m. eviction notice several days ago over growing concerns about drugs and potential violence within the camps. In a national radio interview the other day, Adams said he supports many of the reasons behind the Occupy movement — and articulated those reasons better than anyone I’ve heard so far — but said the encampments in Portland were not “sustainable.”
The mayor and the police, including the chief who helped direct traffic near the parks this morning, used a deft touch to bring about a peaceful end to the encampments.