Speculation has flown around City Hall and the Occupy Portland camps for the past three weeks as to where Mayor Sam Adams would draw the line on the protest's move into unauthorized campsites in public parks.
Apparently, that line is in the Pearl District.
Occupy Portland announced today that it plans to march into the Pearl's Jamison Square at 4 pm Saturday and hold a potluck dinner and "Cuddle Party."
The press release said that "Occupy Portland's new site in the Pearl District" would defy the park's posted curfew. "We plan on staying the entire night," says an Occupy press release.
Hours later, Adams' office said they will stop Occupiers from spending the night Jamison Square, which closes at midnight."We will not allow Occupy Portland to set up an alternative encampment at any other city park," Adams' statement read. "Portland Police Officers have been reminding Occupy Portland participants of this throughout the week, and will continue to use their discretion in enforcing parks rules throughout the city."
Amy Ruiz, the mayor's liaison to Occupy Portland, tells WW that protesters would be allowed in Jamison Square on Saturday.
"They do have the right to demonstrate in the park," she said, "but they must abide by park rules."
What happens if Occupiers follow through on their promise to stay the night?
"We're not going to get into hypotheticals," Ruiz said, "but we will continue to use police discretion."
The organizers of Occupy Portland's Pearl incursion—which has been approved by the Occupation's governing body, General Assembly—apparently believed at first they had found a loophole to the ban on expanding into other city grounds. The original announcement called Jamison Square a privately owned park.
As the website now says:.
As the original announcement said,
Jamison Square is
privately owneda public park*....
*Update: Jamison Square was incorrectly identified as being privately owned. It is indeed a public park.
The plan involves bringing sleeping bags but no tents. Kitchen volunteers will deliver food from Occupy Portland's camps by bicycle.
Micaiah Dutt, an Occupation planner who gave the opening speech at the initial march on Oct. 6, told WW this afternoon he thought the Pearl trip was a bad idea. "It sounds like a giant sleepover," he said.
He said he had no idea what a "Cuddle Party" was.
"We've got everything from long-term activists to college kids," he said. "I'm thinking it was one of the latter that designed that one."
The announcement adds one more request:
It is emphasized that you REMAIN ON YOUR BEST BEHAVIOR. Drugs and Drama will not be welcome.