What should be done about 'Occupy' park damage?
PORTLAND – Damage caused by the “Occupy Portland” encampments at Lownsdale Square and Chapman Park will cost the city at least $19,000 and several months to repair, according to Commissioner Nick Fish.
The city leader sent a letter to “Occupy Portland” Monday, urging them to make changes that will minimize the strain on the parks’ fragile urban ecosystems.
“Parks belong to everyone,” Fish said in the letter. “The cost to restore the damage to our parks will not be borne by Wall Street bankers but by Portland taxpayers.”
He said, due to the damage, the encampments were actually hurting the very people that “Occupy Portland” has aimed to engage and represent. “Damaging these much loved, shared open spaces is frankly inconsistent with your stated goals of renewing our democracy and restoring power to ordinary people,” Fish added.
The commissioner did not go as far as to request that the campers move out, but he said every day of occupation increases the possibility of long-lasting damage, specifically to trees.
Fish explained that the city had a team of arborists, landscapers and horticulturists assess the damage at the two parks and they came up with the $19,000 estimate. But that the team would conduct a more complete assessment after the campers move out.
Late Monday, the “Occupy Portland” Web site published a response to Fish's letter, which said many of the protesters shared Fish's concerns about the parks and were seeking a "positive outcome for all stakeholders." It also went on to say that there were "informal plans by the occupiers to provide money, and/or labor for the purpose of rehabilitating these historic public spaces."