Schrunk Plaza remains unoccupied

Schrunk Plaza remains unoccupied

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on October 31, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 2 at 6:50 AM

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Do you agree with the police action at Schrunk Plaza?

PORTLAND – Terry Schrunk Plaza remained clear of 'Occupy Portland' activists overnight Tuesday after ten people were arrested by federal police who had been camping there, some promising to move back in.

Tents erected on the site were removed by police early Tuesday morning, mostly from the Federal Protective Service, in riot gear who arrived straddling trucks or SUVs and surrounded the block.

Raw Video: Police clear out Schrunk Plaza

Nine people were cited and released and a tenth person wanted on an outstanding warrant remained in custody, said Federal Protective Service spokesman Chris Ortman.

More will risk arrest if the group decides to return to the plaza.

"I think there's a good possibility we do re-occupy," protester Mike Withey told KGW Tuesday afternoon. "We discuss things we come around, we make concessions, we think about it, we pick our battles well. And if it makes more sense to wait then that 's what we'll do."

Withey said the general assembly planned to meet Tuesday afternoon and decide whether to set up another camp in Terry Schrunk Plaza as soon as that night.

As for Tuesday morning's police activity, Mayor Sam Adams said Portland officers were there only in a supporting role.

"When tents started showing up and the federal government asked us for support . . . I said, yes, partly because we have two entire city blocks dedicated to Occupy Portland and we don't need anymore," he said, "and the second reason is that I wanted to make sure that the enforcement by the federal government of the park closure on Terry Schrunk Plaza was done in a peaceful manner."

Some activists were carried from the park. The police action went quickly. Within an hour, the park was cleared.  A number of people stood on sidewalks during that time, snapping photos and videos and shouting at police, who held them off the streets to allow traffic to pass by. By 6 a.m., most police had left the scene.

Arrangements were made for the activists to have their camping equipment returned to them. One of them, Kristen Jones, told KGW she was proud to have stood up for her constitutional rights.

She said federal officials were polite as they they issued her a citation at the Hatfield courthouse.

Several activists told KGW that some level of police intervention was expected to remove them but they were still surprised by the 4:30 a.m. move.

At least a dozen tents had gone up at Terry Schrunk Plaza by Monday.

City commissioners had warned the protesters not to expand into other parks. The Dept. of Homeland Security said no tents can be set up in Schrunk Plaza, and federal officers moved in to enforce that message.

Related: Michael Moore speaks to 'Occupy Portland'

Monday afternoon, many protesters said they were prepared for a confrontation.

“We have to show them that we're going to need to expand and they are not going to be able to shut us down," said demonstrator David (who did not give his last name). “I've heard some people say that they are allowing us to be here. No; we're here and we're not leaving."

Mayor Sam Adams said the expansion failed to help get the group's message out.

"I don't think that taking over more parks in this city or other cities moves forward the very necessary discussion that this nation needs to have about needed financial reform," he said.

Background: 'Occupy Portland' still in Jamison Square after arrests

Protesters told KGW they were expanding into a new park for two reasons: they had run out of space at the original camp and they wanted to make a political statement.

“Really it’s the federal government; it's their property,” said demonstrator David Jensen Thomas. “There's no reason why we should be standing up to local, city, municipalities and not the federal government, and letting them know that we are here."

Some protesters were jailed early Sunday morning after refusing to leave Jamison Square in the Pearl District.

Photos: 'Occupy Portland' arrests at Jamison Square

Police have noted that enforcing city ordinances in the new park is a bit trickier than in the existing camp.

"At this point, we're going to be consistent with our message: They are not being allowed to expand to other city parks," said Portland Police Bureau Commander Robert Day. "This area really is an anomaly because it is federal property, and it would require federal action. 

'Occupy Portland' also announced that it planned a rally at Schrunk Plaza next Sunday to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada to Texas.

Related: Canada confident US will approve oil pipeline

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KGW Reporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report

 

 

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