PORTLAND Members of Occupy Portland gathered Monday afternoon for a peaceful protest to mark the one-year anniversary of the national movement.
Their protest started just before 4 p.m. and included a march from the intersection of East Burnside and MLK to St. Francis Park, near SE 11th Avenue and Stark Street. A rally took place at the end of the march.
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Portland s Occupy movement included encampments at Chapman Park, Lownsdale Square and Terry Shrunk Plaza during October and November of 2011. The protesters lived in the camps for more than a month before police in riot gear forced them out.
Rallies and protests continued after the activists were evicted from the parks and the number of events slowly decreased into the next year.
Paige Shell-Spurling is one of several organizers behind Monday s march in Southeast Portland. She said it was about celebrating the one-year mark of the national movement, and also shedding light on what she called General Motors' exploitation of Colombian workers.
For me, I can t let my friends starve on the streets. It s really an issue of getting the word out so General Motors will feel the pressure to resolve the situation, she said.
Randy Blazak, a sociology professor at Portland State University, said Monday s rally was held to remind people that the Occupy movement is still here and relevant.
What is it that s going to Occupy peoples minds, no pun intended, is to give them something to care about and it s interesting to see how this unfolds, he told KGW.
Blazak said Occupy lost momentum because of a lack of leadership to help translate the cause to a larger audience.
It didn t really have that person to make that case for the average people, and sort of just left it to the people in the street, he explained. So I think that s one of things that took a little bit of steam out of the movement.
But Blazak said it did manage to shift the way people communicate.
That notion of the 1 percent vs. the 99 percent has sort of become part of the language now. It s even in the presidential campaign and that s something that came out of the Occupy movement, he said.