Mayor Sam Adams wasn't exaggerating yesterday afternoon when he said he was running out of patience with a handful of Occupy Portlanders' occupation of SW Main Street. Before the morning commute, before 6AM, the O reports, officers emerged from the Justice Center, made some arrests and reopened the street.
The arrests came after the mayor's office and police bureau said yesterday they would wait for the Occupy Portland campers to try to settle the issue themselves at last night's general assembly meeting. But the group could only decide to leave one lane open—an offer Adams previously rejected.
Beginning at 5:53 a.m., dozens of uniformed officers poured into the street from the Justice Center on bicycles, motorcycles and on foot. With speed and efficiency, they removed barricades and protesters' signs blocking Main Street.
A handful of protesters shouted, "They're here!" as officers moved in, and then, "Keep the street! Keep the street!"...
For the most part it was a peaceful interaction between protesters and police. Two men who sat in the middle of Third and Main were physically removed by police. Officers made eight
or nine arrestsin all, with protesters facing charges of second-degree disorderly conduct or interfering with police if they didn't follow orders.
Adams, according to news reports this morning, said he would indefinitely keep open the two park campsites—so long as things remain safe and peaceful. UPDATE 8:30AM: The police bureau has just sent out its statement, after the cut.
Today, Thursday, October 13, 2011, at about 6 a.m., Portland Police reopened Main Street in downtown Portland. Main Street has been closed since last Thursday, October 6, 2011, when Occupy Portland concluded their march and arrived at Chapman Square and Lownsdale Park. Every day, police have been attending all General Assemby meetings and talking with event organizers about the need to reopen the street. While many of the Occupy Portland attendees wanted the police to open the street, ultimately, the group could not reach consensus on the issue.
Today, police have removed the barricades and arrested eight people for Disorderly Conduct and/or Interfering with a Peace Officer-both misdemeanors.
Main Street, which is a major traffic corridor for Portland's residents, commuters and emergency services, is open and traffic is flowing again. Officers have left the area, as those causing the street closure are in custody. Officers will continue to regularly patrol the encampment as part of the effort to provide public safety resources when needed.