Update 6PM: The number of arrests is now at over 50, says mayoral office spokeswoman Amy Ruiz.
- Matt Bors
- The crowd waits outside the Portland Building.
Portland Police moved into Occupy's two contested parks peacefully this morning after the protest crowd thinned out, taking down tents and removing any other remaining infrastructure. But by 1pm, the Occupiers had returned in force and an estimated 600 people agitated to be able to remain in the parks home to Occupy Portland for the last
three five weeks.
Police managed to push all of the protesters out of the park and demolish a holdout "fort" in the parks with no major injuries reported (at least that I've heard of—correct me if I'm wrong). They made "over a dozen" arrests in the process, Chief Mike Reese told TV station KGW. After pushing the protesters out of the parks, the police are attempting to erect a barbed wire fence seven feet high around the parks.
Right now, police and protesters are in a tense standoff on SW 4th and Main. MAX service down the bus mall is stopped as the city holds its breath.
While some have suggested retreating to Pioneer Square, hundreds of protesters are refusing to budge, while police assemble in a line of riot gear clad cops three officers deep. They have tear gas and pepper spray on hand and have issued repeated warnings that the may use them on people remaining in the street. But still the protesters stand their ground. Something's gotta give. Right?
Will the peaceful interactions of last night give way to violence today? Fingers crossed for both sides making it out of this okay. Follow our reporters Denis Theriault, Matt Bors, and Alex Z for updates every minute.