Portland's mayor is sitting down for a fireside chat with Occupy Portland at 4:30 today—watch the livestream here. I'll be blogging about the interview as it happens, so feel free to put your thoughts, reactions, hate mail in the comments.
Right now, the livestream page includes a Gmail chat an some MSPaint...
...but hopefully this thing will get started on time, because the protesters and the mayor have a lot to talk about. Port-a-pottie controversies! Pushing a cop into a bus! Zombies!
4:30—So far, an interviewer with a chinstrap beard and funny hat is making small talk with the mayor. I will not judge him. Not judging. Adams says: "We're working hard to balance people's right to free speech under the law with keeping the city moving. This is an international global movement. Last week I was on a business trip promoting local business in Hong Kong and came across the Occupy Hong Kong!"
Updates below the cut.
4:37— Question from the protest to Adams: "What would Sam like Occupy Portland to say to the world?"
He says: Focus on national issues, don't pick fights with the city. "There's always folks that want to pick a local fight... I've worked hard and my team has worked hard, for example, to improve accountability within the police department. If I was there I would be steering away from picking fights, even if they're well intentioned, with a local government that supports a lot of the reasons why the protest was started... That's not to say we're perfect and we definitely deserve our share of criticism, but I would try to focus as much as possible on national issues."
4:40—Another question: "How can Occupy help the city of Portland?" Adams isn't really clear on this one, he says he'll get back to them with a better answer, but mentions budget cuts.
4:42pm—Next question is a big one that's been an issue at Occupy: Where does the city see as a good place for Occupy to expand?
Adams totally dodges at first, talking about the social services the city provides and mentions that the city is opening up more shelter beds. "Bud Clark Commons, Commissioner Fish brought that online this year, that is also a place to go and it's open 7 to 7," says Adams. The interviewer asks: What about the people who don't need social services, but just think that the camp isn't big enough?
Adams replies: Stay put. "We have one of the larger footprints in terms of an occupation. I want the group to manage within the blocks. That's my goal."
4:50pm—The next question focuses on arrests and use of force by police.
"We understand civil disobedience and we respect that. These things tend to be chaotic things, we rely on the organization of the protesters as well as the professionalism of the police bureau," says Adams. He mentions how the march last night turned nasty, in part because police did not know the route and what to expect. "Communication of intent is really helpful. Today I really put it out there strongly that if there's going to be a protest march, let us know your route. That is the best way to insure your safety," says Adams.
Over 300 people are watching the livestream now! Oooo.
4:55—The Occupiers bring up the idea of neighborhood or community General Assemblies. That could be interesting, instead of having all the action at the downtown camp.
Asked about whether Adams has talked with the governor about the protest, Adams says he and Kitzhaber spoke about the protest and the governor "liked that we were trying to keep the piece."
5 pm—In closing, Mayor Adams delivers a little speech about evolution:
One of the best aspects of Portland's culture is that we're a city that's so highly involved... Portlanders support both the core mission of Occupy Wall Street and the balanced, peaceful approach that we're trying to achieve here. In the future, that's got to continue. But I look forward to the Occupy movement evolving into its next iteration. I do think there needs to be an evolution... Even if all it is, the fact that these issues have been brought to the fore, that's an incredible contribution to the history of the world. But recognize when it's time to evolve in terms of tactics.