By Rowan Wolf
I want to say that this morning I am proud to be a Portlander. Yesterday, Occupy Portland was supposed to be moved out of the encampments in Chapman Park and Lownsdale Square. Many people left (I imagine that many of those were the homeless and street kids who had moved into the embrace and resources of the Occupy encampment). Those who chose to stay were disproportionately pledged to meet what came with peaceful resistance, and a few were pledged to actively resist if it came to that (it didn’t – or hasn’t yet). As the time to “clear” the parks approached (12:01am Sunday 11/13) people began to to show up as witnesses. A call had gone out for people to come an stay throughout the night as witnesses, and an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 – yes FIVE THOUSAND Portlanders – did just that.
On the City’s side of the equation, Mayor Sam Adams has continued to treat the Occupy protesters with respect and to try to preserve a peaceful relationship between the Police and the protesters. This is a big deal because he could have ordered an aggressive policy rather than one of restraint (as has been the case in other protests and with other mayors).
This morning, a number of the camp residents are cleaning up the parks (a massive job). The resistance continues. People outside the camps are still showing up to participate. Private citizens have contacted Nick Fish (city commissioner in charge of parks) to volunteer to help with park restoration and to pay for the costs of that project.
For now, the occupation continues and the protesters are clear, calm, and dedicated to the path of change. To those in the encampment -Thank you!
To the citizens who have showed up to add your voice and witness (keep the city honest), and particularly to those who stood through the night in the cold and the rain – Thank you!
To Mayor Adams and Commissioner Fish who have maintained a calm and respectful tone – Thank you!
To the police who have maintained your restraint and patience – Thank you!
To all of you and many more, thank you for making me proud to be a Portlander. I must say I have never had this experience before about any place I have lived.