This afternoon around 2:30 pm an estimated 300 Occupy Portland demonstrators met up on the waterfront and marched to the Oregon Convention Center to protest a Bank of America "homeowner outreach" event. Here's how BoA describes their event.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, please register to attend a Bank of America customer outreach event in your area. There, you will have the opportunity to meet in person with one of our specialists to discuss your home loan and any assistance solutions—including loan modification options—that may be available to you.
The Occupy Portland protesters rallying around the front entrance to the convention center called bullshit on that. After minutes of chanting "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!" their speaker gave the crowd her spin on BoA's shenanigans (repeated by the crowd for maximum effect). For that and more pix, hit the jump.
"Bank of America has foreclosed on thousands and thousands of homes, and then sold them out from underneath the owners feet," the speaker shouted. Occupiers want "an immediate federal investigation" into Bank of America's mortgage and loan practices, accusing them of "criminal acts." She also raised the specter of Oakland, saying that while protesters elsewhere are getting beaten, injured and arrested for trying to protect and defend American homeowners, the true criminals (Hi, Bank of America!) are getting off scot-free.
She then went on to call shenanigans on today's BoA "homeowner outreach" event, accusing their employees of offering troubled homeowners wrong information, because the bank "wants them to fall behind on payments" so they can foreclose on them all the sooner, and then turn a tidy profit on the house upon resale. "The criminals who do this," she shouted, "should be arrested" and any fines accrued from convictions should be given back to the homeowners who were "robbed by BoA."
It was a stirring speech—though a tad perfunctory, as if they were in a rush to stay true to today's timetable of events. And the lack of participation in the event, though loud and boisterous, had to be a bit of a disappointment to organizers... especially since pointing the finger at the banks is one of the major rallying cries of the Occupy movement. The entire convention event lasted perhaps 20 minutes tops, and then they were off again, to march back across the river and presumably to their next, far more controversial event, occupying Jamison Square in the Pearl.
Denis is en route to Jamison Square as I type, and will be reporting back through the evening with the latest. Check back in at Blogtown often for on the ground updates! (Got any tips or pics of the Occupy Portland events? Hit us up here!)
Here are a few snaps of the Bank of America protest.