Port re-opened after Occupy Portland protest

Port re-opened after Occupy Portland protest

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by Associated Press and KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on December 12, 2011 at 6:51 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 13 at 11:48 AM

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PORTLAND -- The Port of Portland's terminals that were blocked by Occupy Portland protesters Monday had all re-opened by the next morning, port officials said.

The Port of Portland opened early on Tuesday, in an effort to make up for some of the lost business the day before. Officials said all of the protesters had left.

"Hundreds of workers were impacted by the protest activities yesterday, including approximately 325 longshore workers, 200 truckers, and a number of other individuals relating to tenant operations at Terminals 4, 5 and 6. For many of these workers, it meant a day without pay," said spokesman Josh Thomas

On Monday, one group marched to Terminal 6 in Portland about 6:30 a.m. and blocked the entrance.  A second group marched to the Terminal 5 entrance. The group gathered at nearby Kelley Point Park and later Terminal 4.

Photos: Occupy Port protest in Portland

Anti-Wall Street protesters up and down the West Coast joined in the effort to blockade some of the nation's busiest ports from Anchorage to San Diego, to Portland and Seattle.

"The thing is, I have faith in humanity, I don't think any person driving a train is going to haul through a bunch of peaceful people with children," protester Lotus said.

More: Arrests in Seattle

Thomas said they decided to erect a fence at the two terminals and shut down for the day, citing concerns about personal safety of workers. One of the closed terminals was for grain and potash exports, the other for imports and exports, he explained.

Early Monday morning, two men who said they were part of the protest were arrested with a loaded handgun, sword and gas masks at one of the entrances, police said. And in another incident, some Occupy Portland protesters were involved in a crash in a stolen truck on Marine Drive.

More: Weapons, stolen truck wreck linked to port protest

Closing the port also had a financial impact on small businesses, according to Port of Portland spokesman Steve Johnson.

"Maritime activities support over 12,000 family wage jobs in the Portland metro area alone," he said. "The Port is also important to the agricultural and small business communities – 88 percent of Oregon exporters are small- and medium-sized businesses."

Demonstrations across the U.S.

Occupy groups in Seattle, Tacoma and the Canadian city of Vancouver were also involved in blockades. And in California, protesters marched on the Port of Oakland and descended on the sprawling port complex spanning Los Angeles and Long Beach.

More: Protesters seek to shut down West Coast ports

Demonstrators began forming those camps around the country about two months ago to protest what they call corporate greed and economic inequality.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents many thousands of longshoremen up and down the West Coast, has distanced itself from the shutdown effort. The union's president suggested in a letter to members that protesters were attempting to co-opt the union's cause to advance their own agenda.

KGW Reporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report

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