November 5th, 2011 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Activism, City Hall, Cops and Courts

Building Owners, Lawyer, Cops Tired of Occupiers

occupy1Occupiers Give Financial Advice

A sampling of written communication concerning Occupy Portland suggests that people's patience with the downtown tent city erected Oct. 6 is evaporating and that various groups are putting increasing pressure on Mayor Sam Adams to bring the occupation to an end.

Here's an email that Melinda Davison, a utility lawyer whose firm's offices are a couple of blocks from the Occupiers, wrote to Mayor Sam Adams on Nov. 3.


"I am writing to express my strong opposition to the camping in downtown Portland by the Occupy Portland group. I am a lawyer and I strongly support everyone’s right to free speech, however, that does not translate to a right to camp in the parks in downtown Portland. My law firm’s office is located two blocks from the parks at issue. Every day during the lunch hour my office is disturbed by the bullhorn used for chanting from the Occupy Portland camp. You have made a decision to favor one group’s use of the park over others. I can no longer walk my dog and enjoy the park. I can no longer enjoy the beauty of the changing of the trees in the park. I am forced to deal with more homelessness and drug use than usual in downtown. My law firm’s lease is up in March 2012. If this issue is not long resolved by the time I need to renegotiate my lease, January 2012, I will move my law firm out of downtown Portland. As a taxpayer, I agree with the message sent to you today by the police union, enough is enough. You need to enforce the law and remain focused on improving the business climate in Portland."

The same day, the Building Owners and Managers Association, whose members control more than 30 million square feet of Oregon commercial real estate, weighed in:

Dear Mayor Adams:

Re: Occupy Portland

As you know, BOMA is committed to our City and its long-term viability as a great place to live and work. Our members include office, retail, and industrial building owners, managers, vendors, and others who work in our industry, and who contribute to the vitality of our downtown core. Until today, we have watched from the sidelines the City’s handling of Occupy Portland. After four weeks of waiting in vain for a cohesive and reasonable response from the City that considers all its citizens’ interests, we feel the need to share our concerns with you and the City Commissioners. While we are mindful of the economic challenges being faced by many members of our community (including BOMA’s members), and while we fully support everyone’s right to peacefully assemble and voice their opinions, all of us must exercise our rights within the bounds of the law, so as not to unfairly impinge on the rights of others. We are disappointed that the City’s reaction (and non-reaction) to the current Occupy movement goes too far in protecting the rights of those who are participating in the movement, while ignoring the much greater number of people whose rights are being unfairly trampled by it. We are asking that the City give equal consideration to all citizens of our City, including the many tax-paying members of our downtown community who make Portland a great and livable city, and who suffer the impacts most severely from the City’s appeasement of the Occupy movement’s unlawful actions. We are not asking for militancy from the City. We are asking for balance. If you believe BOMA can contribute in any way to finding solutions, please let me know and I would be pleased to meet with you to discuss these issues.
Respectfully,
Susan Steward LEED Green Associate®
Executive Director, BOMA Portland

And finally, on Friday, Daryl Turner, president of the 900-member Portland Police Association, amplified comments he made earlier in the week in a strongly worded piece written for the union's monthly newsletter, the Rap Sheet.

"In the past few weeks, Portland Police officers have worked long hours, shown great resolve, and out-performed their duties under seemingly unimaginable circumstances.  We have responded to the mixed messages of our leaders and have held our heads up through the adversity that we have neither caused nor can control.  Now, Portland Police officers are being assaulted and threatened by protesters which also puts our citizens at risk.  We need to be able to do our jobs, and protect the rights and safety of every citizen.   The Police Commissioner has the ability and the duty to see that this is done," Turner wrote.

"I am personally calling on you, the other 99% of the citizens of Portland, to have your voices heard.  The 99% who cannot sit on a park bench and read a book, or have your lunch, or just enjoy a nice autumn day.  The 99% who has had to avoid what the parks have become while walking to lunch, work, or taking a coffee break.  The 99% whose children are in area day-care centers who have had to take extra security measures.  And the 99% who are business owners whose businesses are surviving from month to month in this volatile economy.

You need to contact your City leaders and let them hear from you.  The 99% who are not violating the trespass laws and camping laws.  The 99% who are not in violation of park rules and City Codes on structures, food handling, and garbage dumping.  The 99% who are not costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Police Bureau resources and potentially tens  of thousands of dollars in damages to the parks and clean-up cost whenever this is over.  If the Occupy Portland movement has a message, let it be heard, but not at the cost of taxpayer’s dollars, Police resources, and the damage it has done to the citizens and business owners who are a large majority of the 99%."

 
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