PORTLAND -- Portland Police met with Occupy Portland protesters Friday, seeking to ease tensions as the encampment remained downtown for the fifth week.
Chief Michael Reese has issued a directive that every sworn officer have their bureau-issued uniforms, helmet, baton and gas mask on-hand starting Friday.
All sworn members should be prepared to deploy with their required equipment in a timely manner, Reese said. I am also reaching out to other agencies, asking for mutual aid agreements for this prolonged event.
He said the goal remains a peaceful resolution' to 'Occupy Portland.'
The protesters met with Reese for about an hour.
We will continue to reach out to protesters to ask for their cooperation for permitted marches, he wrote. We will continue to work with the Mayor s office to bring about a peaceful resolution that accommodates all people s rights while ensuring the city s public safety needs are met.
Bureau spokesman Lt. Robert King said the chief's directive was not an additional issuance of equipment. It's aimed at police not usually in uniform like detectives and other plain-clothes officers. Reese wants that equipment kept in their lockers at work or in their patrol cars.
King did say that the directive could be interpreted to mean that Reese views Occupy Portland as needing an extraordinary effort, with people ready to respond.
In his directive, Reese specifically mentioned a Wednesday evening Occupy Portland march that he felt took on a different tone from previous marches and rallies.
Last night, many of you were involved in the unpermitted march that occurred throughout downtown and across the bridge, he wrote. The tone of this march seemed to change from previous events, and many in the crowd seemed confrontational provoking motorists and police.
Reese told his officers that they are on a national stage and he praised them for remaining restrained and professional.
He also recently said he is considering a run for mayor.