The calm that lingered at a spinoff Occupy Portland campsite in Terry Schrunk Plaza well past the federal park's 10PM closing last night apparently came to an abrupt end around 4 this morning when Portland police—many in riot gear—showed up at the feds' behest to keep away demonstrators and tear down tents.
Nine people were arrested, according to media reports and Twitter. The Federal Protective Service, which is in charge of the park, had twice told campers to move yesterday after tents went up starting early yesterday morning, but campers had decided to risk arrest and stay for a variety of reasons: Some wanted to get away from noise in the main camps, some wanted to make a statement about occupying federal land, and others simply said the main camps were out of room and wanted to make more space for activists who are now being drawn by Occupy Portland's longevity.
Update 10:35 AM: The Oregonian spoke with the Department of Homeland Security and reports 10 arrests, with nine "quickly released but one, who had an outstanding warrant," held for longer.
As of 12:30 AM, a dozen tents were still in place. The expansion wasn't approved by Occupy's general assembly—which actually meets most nights in Schrunk Plaza—and while some last night told me they didn't think the move was a good idea, plenty of others had showed up in support.
The police bureau's decision to assist the feds comes just days after 27 protesters were arrested for breaking the city's midnight parks curfew in Jamison Square. It's the third batch of Occupy arrests, following eight others October 13 when Portland reopened SW Main through Chapman and Lownsdale squares. Mayor Sam Adams was awake and tweeting in the wee hours (in fact, he still is, as Occupy sympathizers hound him), posting this summary:
Summary: This morning. at request and at the lead of the US Federal Protective Service, the Portland Police helped remove campers at Shrunk [sic] Plaza, which is federal property across the street from Chapman Sq. The campers who were arrested - an estimated 8 to 10 people - at Shrunk [sic] Plaza were detained by federal police and cited under US federal law. Initial reports indicate arrests were completed in a peaceful manner.
According to KPTV, at least one of the arrested was immediately released from the federal courthouse:
Kristen Jones, who was one of those arrested, says she was taken directly to the federal courthouse, where she was cited and then released.
"I'm here to stand for my rights. If I would have left and backed down, I would have been so hypocritical to myself," she says.
The drill this morning reportedly was very similar—with the added tension that hundreds of occupiers were in the main camps next door and able to quickly and immediately join any protest of police action if needed. The Oregonian reports "Dozens of officers wearing helmets and holding nightsticks lined three sides of the park, keeping demonstrators out while the encampment was dismantled."
And, it seems, there's a question about whether the tents will come back tonight.
The camp clearout followed one other semi-Occupy Portland-related arrest yesterday, after a group of anti-coal protesters dressed like zombies marched on a Bank of America branch downtown.
From Portland Rising Tide, the group that organized the march:
Portland Rising Tide, a direct action environmental group confronting the root causes of climate change resurrected the first ever undead zombie army against coal. On Monday October 31st, the zombie army against coal marched from Occupy Portland at 3:00 PM to two Bank of America branches in downtown Portland. One protestor, Tim Swenson, was arrested in the protest for allegedly putting red corn syrup on the exterior of the Bank of America on 2nd and Morrison.
Twenty police officers in partial riot gear arrived at the Bank of America as the protestors were leaving. Police grabbed Swenson as the protestors were leaving the site.
A spokes-zombie for Portland Rising Tide, David Osborn, stated, “The connections between Bank of America, coal and climate change are too strong to ignore and too devastating to our future to not act against. We call for the immediate release of Tim Swenson and for Bank of America, the true criminal, to be held to account for its actions.”
From the PPB:
This afternoon, Monday October 31, 2011, Portland Police officers from Central Precinct responded to the Bank of America branch located at 121 Southwest Morrison Street for a disturbance involving a group of zombies that were in the lobby.
Officers arrived and observed a red substance and pieces of paper stuck to the glass in the lobby and large group of people dressed like zombies leaving the location. One of the employees of the bank identified one of the zombies as the person that vandalized the glass.
27-year-old Timothy John Swenson was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Jail for Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree and Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree.