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Campers cleared from Portland parks after protest

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said the move was requested by Oregon State Police as part of the plan for federal officers to leave downtown Portland.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland police cleared Lownsdale and Chapman Squares in downtown Portland on Thursday morning, removing occupants and breaking up the encampments that had formed in the two park spaces. The move was requested by Oregon State Police as part of the plan for federal officers to leave downtown Portland, according to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

According to a Portland Parks and Recreation spokesperson, Chapman and Lownsdale Squares have been closed since July 16 due to health and safety concerns. Since the parks are by the two main federal buildings in Portland that have been the focus of recent protests, they have been the staging area for much of the protest infrastructure, including a pop-up food services area and other facilities.

Portland Parks and Recreation has begun and will continue extensive repairs to park restrooms, irrigation systems, benches and other amenities.

Shortly before 5:30 a.m. Thursday, Portland police tweeted that everyone in the park, including members of the media, had 10 minutes to leave. Just before 6 a.m., police tweeted that the parks had been cleared and that no arrests were made.

The area of the two parks goes from Southwest Third to Fourth avenues and from Southwest Salmon to Madison streets.

Wheeler said Portland police, Portland Parks and Recreation, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and outreach workers collaborated on clearing Lownsdale Park. 

Two people arrested while officers were securing the parks, Portland police said.

Kristina Naranja Rivera, 34, was charged with second-degree disorderly conduct and second-degree criminal mischief.

Camillo Massagli, 25, was charged with second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree trespass and interfering with a peace officer.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Thursday praised the move to clear out the two parks, saying the measures should have been taken several weeks ago. Additional federal law enforcement agents from Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection and other agencies arrived in Portland nearly a month ago to provide added security around federal buildings and property in downtown Portland. 

The deployment has led to a significant escalation in the nightly protests in downtown Portland that originally began in late May, following George Floyd's killing by a Minneapolis police officer.

PHOTOS: Portland protests, Night 63

WATCH: Portland protests | YouTube playlist