Occupation Hits Portland’s Waterfront

At about 11 a.m. Thursday, about 100 people had gathered for the Occupy Portland demonstrations. An hour before the demonstration’s official start, several groups of people clumped around to put on identifying arm bands and receive instructions.

Ivy Knight, who works at the Saturday Market, said, “It happens as people see it’s needed,” referring to the formation of bedding, medical, and legal observer committees. During the general assemblies of the Occupy Portland group, several committees were formed to oversee various aspects of the demonstration.

Knight said that several of the committees thought it would be helpful to mark their volunteers with colors. Sitting on the steps of the waterfeature, legal observers wore green armbands. A speaker standing in front of them advised taking notes and pictures of the events of the rally. The medical group wore the red crosses on arms, hats, and backpacks and safety committee members wore blue armbands.

Two safety committee members, going by the aliases Pleasure Man X and Lust, said their responsibilities to the group involved breaking up heated disputes, standing firm against the police, and overall trying to broker nonviolent or peaceful resolutions within Occupy Portland and between the demonstration and the public.

The two said they were from Washington and felt compelled to join Occupy Portland for two reasons. First, they said they were curious and wanted to observe and watch the event up close. Lust said that coming to Portland for the demonstration “was kind of a spur.” He wasn’t originally compelled by the politics.

Pleasure Man X gestured to the growing crowd at the water feature and said, “We have to inherit this.”

The crowd had swelled to perhaps 1,000 as noon approached. The major news channels — KGW, FOX, KATU, and KOIN — were represented by their vans. And dozens of signs had sprouted up in the crowd. One said, “Corporations are not people.” Another said, “Wait-listed for chemo. Thanks Wall Street!” Another, illustrated with skulls, stated, “Eat the rich.”

Lust added that the richest 1 percent were “s—ting on this generation.”

While participants made it clear that Occupy Portland had neither a central message nor centralized leadership, a pattern of dissent with wealthy individuals and corporations was becoming clear.

Jason Sheckler, a member of the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, spoke for himself this morning. He said that the people on Wall Street who created the economic downturn which put him out of work needed to pay. Other members of the PNRCC said they would not be staying overnight with Occupy Portland, but Sheckler, citing his unemployment, said he would consider camping with the group.

Elsewhere, outside the crowds, Trimet and Portland Police Department Officers observed the growing demonstration. One city of Portland officer said that bicycle duty at the waterfront was not usual for him, but otherwise he declined to answer any questions regarding the miscommunications between the PPD and Occupy Portland. Other Portland police acknowledged that the police presence wasn’t on hand to answer questions for the press and advised that questions be directed to the Portland Police Bureau’s public relations department directly.

Trimet officers, on their bicycles as well, also declined to answer questions and also offered a supervisor’s phone number instead.

People also view

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *