If you haven't made your way through the growing Occupy Portland campsites in Chapman and Lownsdale squares in a few days, it's worth checking out. With cops and Mayor Sam Adams pledging not to enforce the city's camping laws and roust everyone, the campers (maybe 200) are settling into what one person described to me as "Burning Man, but without all the stupid art and machines."
I've got some pictures below the cut. And KBOO this morning is broadcasting live from Chapman Square for three hours, starting at 10AM.
How long the vibrancy lasts is another question. Winter is coming, and fast. And even though the city is allowing tent campers, as the occupation drags on and on, pressure could mount on Adams to make the campsite increasingly uncomfortable: Banning tarps, signs, food, etc. I also have heard from a few people that not everyone bedding down is there for the politics. Some are homeless, which isn't that big a problem, but some are addicts, and that has been a concern for the camp's peacekeeping committee.
There's also some concern about how the movement makes decisions. Blogtown commenter Graham noted a particularly harsh indictment on one of Occupy's own forums.
The General Assembly only represents people who have 5 hours a day to debate statements of principle while they eat food that others have prepared, allow others to pick up their garbage, sleep in donated tents and blankets, and depend on security provided by others.
Those donations, as much as anything, have really kept the camp running. There's been cash, maybe more than $2,000 so far. But the group has really come to rely on the piles and piles of food, tents, batteries, etc., that people have donated.
"Everything we could ask for," said Zach, an occupier manning the camp's info booth. "Otherwise we'd have nothing, and eventually we'd all go home.