It's hard to judge the size of a dance mob that fills two parks and several city blocks, but the most quoted estimate for Saturday night's protest crowd was 5,000 people. Hundreds more came back Sunday, November 13, arriving just as riot cops had massed to clear out Chapman Square. When Occupy Wall Street was evicted Tuesday, November 15, the crowd was about 300.
During the occupation, the Portland Police Bureau added six officers to their regular 24-hour, nine-officer patrols in the three districts near the parks. For eviction weekend, they brought in 300 officers, including members of the Salem, Beaverton, and Vancouver police.
The final tally for arrests during the Occupy eviction is 51—most of which were protesters who held out in the parks, refusing to budge until zip-tied. The ages of arrestees ranged from 16 to 81, with an average age of 28.
The total Occupy overtime cost for the Portland Police Bureau for the five weeks before last weekend was $300,000. Since Friday, November 11, they spent an additional $450,000 on overtime. Part of the reasoning behind the city's peaceful arrest strategy, however, was to save money. Historically, rough treatment of protesters has cost the city big bucks. The anti-war and anti-Bush protests in 2002 and 2003 cost the city $845,000 in settlements. As for the two occupied parks, Parks Commissioner Nick Fish initially estimated the cost of cleanup at $19,000—but is attempting to raise $50,000 in donations.
The domino of Occupy evictions across the country—Portland, New York, Denver, Salt Lake City—raised the idea that mayors nationwide had coordinated the crackdown. In fact, Mayor Sam Adams did participate in a conference call about Occupy with 18 other mayors last week, and was one of five to speak, but his office says the discussion was more of a "therapy session" than a strategy meeting. No specific actions or timeline were agreed on during the call, says mayoral spokeswoman Amy Ruiz.
There was surprisingly little! Saturday night's massive dance party/protest/standoff resulted in only a few injuries reported, with police saying two people were pepper-sprayed for fighting, and one officer hospitalized after being hit with something thrown from the crowd. Cops also say a knife was thrown, glancing off an officer's helmet. Sunday was marred by the hospitalization of protester Justin James Bridges, a sign-language interpreter who had a back injury re-aggravated after riot cops dragged him from the front lines. Police say they were protecting him from trampling, but emerging accounts from witnesses dispute that.
Social services agencies sent as many as 30 workers down to Occupy Portland on Friday, November 11, the day after the eviction notice was served, to help find shelter and care for campers with nowhere else to go except the streets. More workers returned the next day, with occupiers helping out, too. Police say about 50 people were helped. Occupiers, meanwhile, wryly noted the 30-plus days it took before such a mobilization.
Occupy Portland's general assembly voted weeks ago to put a portion of any donations they receive toward cleaning up the parks—but now it's unclear whether they'll have any cash to give. The group received an estimated $14,000 in donations online through PayPal, but this month the account holder, Bryan Howarth, apparently decided to refund all the money and then went AWOL, not returning phone calls. While the group's finance committee has received notes from several donors saying that their money was mysteriously returned, finance team member Kip Silverman says, "We have no accountability. It would be irresponsible to conjecture on where the money is." The group also tabulates cash donations of $5,300, but an absence of accounting means there's no verifiable number, and Silverman believes thousands of dollars in donations have potentially slipped away. "There's a big discrepancy sitting out there that's not accounted for," he says. Once there's a confirmed cost for park cleanup, says Silverman, the group still plans to give the city a percentage of whatever money it does have.