PORTLAND - There is growing concern among many city leaders that Occupy Portland has deteriorated so badly that the downtown Portland encampment is no longer safe, and the commissioner in charge of the parks wants the campers to move.
There is a growing sense that this needs to end - this encampment. And move to something else, Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish said Tuesday.
Fish, who is in charge of city parks, said conditions at Lownsdale Park and Chapman Square have become overcrowded, worn down and there are several instances of vandalism. They are doing daily damage to our parks, we cannot manage the situation any longer, he added.
We need to work out a peaceful solution and move folks to the next level, added Commissioner Amanda Fritz.
Police arrested 47-year-old Richard Allen Fuller for criminal mischief after police said he smashed out the window of a Gresham police car with a hammer next to Chapman Square onTuesday.
Some protesters said the city was already pressuring them Tuesday morning, by locking up the last of the public restrooms they had been using with running water and flushing toilets. Porta-potties still remained at Lownsdale Park and Chapman Square for public use.
The city cited safety concerns for workers as the reason. They said crews had been threatened and harassed by protesters while trying to clean the public restrooms.
To be treated this way is frustrating and sad for us, Clean & Safe Portland's Megan Doern said. I believe this is the first time we ve ever had to refrain from cleaning one of the bathrooms. Doern said last weekend a hypodermic needle was thrown at one of the custodians.
Also on Tuesday, a citizen shot video of an Occupy Portland protester hurling profanity at and pushing a KGW news crew, and uploaded the video to YouTube. The video shows police eventually arriving and escorting the man from the scene.More: Video catches protester cursing news crew
On Monday, Mayor Adams urged protesters to help find solutions to the growing crime problems before someone gets seriously hurt or dies.
Mayor Adams and other city officials have been supporting the encampments since the initial march supporting New York's Occupy Wall Street last month.Rules regarding overnight camping, sanitation and building safety codes at the parks were suspended for the protests.
But that could be changing soon.
I know that you agree that the growing number of arrests and reports of illicit drug and alcohol use, violent behavior and other criminal conduct must be immediately addressed, the mayor wrote in a letter to 'Occupy Portland' Monday. The way things are operating now is not sustainable. ... I know there is a nationwide Occupy process for working through those things, which I want to give some time to work. But we cannot wait long.
Police have also been patrolling the encampments around the clock. They said officers found two stolen bicycles in the area Tuesday morning and also responded to reports of a person with a gun, thefts and several verbal disturbances.
Adams thanked Portland protesters for meeting with city leaders and police last week to address the rising incidents involving drugs, violence, harassment and health issues.
In Bend, Oregon, Occupy participants have closed their camp, but continue to meet regularly. I believe Occupy Portland can lead the nation in figuring out what the next phase of the Occupy Movement looks like. We've got work to do - and by we, I mean everybody, including all Occupy supporters. I look forward to finding solutions in the coming days.
Portland Parks Commissioner Nick Fish said the two restrooms in the parks will be closed. Parks workers have been threatened by people using the bathrooms, he said.
Last weekend, police reported a handful of problems at the camps. One man was spotted cutting branches from a tree in Chapman Square, another man stood in the middle of traffic.
KGWReporter Kyle Iboshi contributed to this report