Update 3:09 PM—It looks like everyone's settling into a standoff. Alex Z. reports that people are now making out in the chair pictured above. Looks like they're not going to move any time soon.
The police have asked the protesters to please move out of the street, but are reiterating that this is a "nonviolent, safe event," so there are no plans for arrests. Meanwhile, the people blocking the street (who the @OccupyOregon Twitter feed is noting "do not represent #OccupyPortland as a whole.") are refusing to budge at least the general assembly meeting at 7pm.
Update 2:17 PM Mike Kuykendall, director of operations for the police bureau, reiterates the words of the police chief: "Nothing is going to happen here today." Asked why more police—
Update 2:04 PM: Police in riot gear are loading up cars on SW 2nd and Madison, while the police have directed traffic division officers to Central Precinct. If the street-sitters want a showdown, looks like they might get one.
Some of the Occupy organizers are practically in tears, trying to get their friends out of the road. Some protesters are shouting, "Clear the Street! Clear your Ego!"
From the #occupyrandomstreet side, they're shouting, "If you give an inch, they'll take a mile." One of the protesters just said to me, "This is Occupy Earth right now, we occupy this block and then the next, then the next."
Rumors are flowing around that police are going to start making arrests, but whether that's true is entirely unclear. It feels like the whole thing could blow up because of just opening the street. A very tan Chief Mike Reese, who just got back from Bangladesh, is wandering around. "I'm just trying to keep the peace," he said.
I asked him: "Chief, are there any deadlines?"
He replied: "No."
The mayor's office just released this video of Sam Adams asking everyone to get out of the road:
Update 12:45 PM—Several dozen Occupy Portland members are massed at SW Third and Main to talk through a decision on whether to give up the road between their two parks, Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square. A majority of the group, but not enough for "consensus," seems to agree—especially on the idea that mucking with the sympathies of working people might not be good for the movement.
"We are not the only citizens in this city," one man said. "We came down here to represent people who could not be here. People need to get to work. That's part of the equation."
Also, it's true: Mayor Sam Adams did show up to personally appeal for the road to reopen. "We don't want a confrontation," he said. "We just want to get the street open.... I've asked for three days and I think I've been patient."
Deputy city attorney David Woboril, when asked outside the Justice Center when the city might resort to other means of persuasion, said "the city's still making up its mind."
Adams' spokeswoman Amy Ruiz says it's still "one day at a time" on what the police response could be, but did say the next step is to "courtesy tow" some of the occupiers' vehicles that are illegally parked on Main between Third and Fourth. ("Courtesy" means "no charge.")
Original post starts here: Last week, the Mercury filed a public records request for—and then posted—a batch of emails that offered an internal glimpse at Mayor Sam Adams' response to Occupy Portland. But that batch only covered last Monday through Friday afternoon. Late yesterday, we got the latest set of missives, running all the way through yesterday afternoon.
We wondered: Has the mayor's patience—and that of the police—begun to wear thin now that the occupation is about mark its first full week? So far, according to the messages, the answer is no. The mayor has refused to let the eventual cost of cleaning up Chapman Square become an issue. And his office also stuck to a go-slow approach to getting SW Main Street—although Twitter is going off that he's down there trying to get the occupiers to move. His staff has also been receiving regular updates on goings-on at the camp, and is still closely monitoring how the parks bureau is dealing with yucky things like busted bathrooms.
All this, as pressure from business interests continues to mount to keep the movement contained and hemmed in.
Standard Insurance might not be happy that Main Street still remains closed. But maybe—what with their being a huge insurance company and all—they should keep quiet. As one city hall observer put it when told of the email: "Okay, Standard. Of all the people who should really keep their heads down right now... That's just bad marketing."
In other road-related revelations, it seems the Occupy campers made a request of their own. They want dispensation to park along Chapman Square without being ticketed. That's not going to happen, the mayor's office says. No groups get free parking downtown.
Meanwhile, Adams might not be able to avoid dealing with how much the city's embrace of Occupy Portland is costing. Last week, police officials told me it was too soon to calculate how much they'd been spending. Now, according to an email sent by Jim Blackwood in Commissioner Nick Fish's office, the parks bureau will be compiling its own list of expenses that the council will have to consider.
Given the city's budget woes—deep cuts loom, an issue forcefully hammered home by the mayor in a memo circulated last week—those figures could become sticky for the council to consider. And that could become another pressure.