City Commissioner Randy Leonard says officials are considering a firm deadline for Occupy Portland to leave Chapman and Lownsdale squares, probably within days.
If the group continues to oppose the city’s pressure to become an indoor lobby group—and Leonard thinks it probably will resist—he promises the city will break up the camp.
“If the dynamic becomes lawlessness,” he said, “We’ll give them a deadline where they need to be gone.”
Leonard—long a vocal supporter of the protest movement—joins a growing chorus of officials, including fellow Commissioner Nick Fish, who want the camp to close.
Leonard says Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese have been working with protesters to come to a peaceful solution, which Leonard said would involve the city helping the movement organize into a lobby group of some kind, possibly with office space.
“We need to have an earnest, adult discussion about what the next level is,” he said.
Leonard admits the protesters, who hotly opposed an effort within the camp to incorporate as a non-profit two weeks ago, don’t like the idea of moving out and don’t have a plan to do so.
“But I think we need to try to have the conversation,” he said.
The camp has grown increasingly dangerous, Leonard said, and with a faction of Occupiers starting to oppose the city by taking over other parks (Jamison Square, Terry Schrunk Plaza and possibly more), allegedly pushing police into buses and possibly setting off a Molotov cocktail at the World Trade Center, it’s time for it to end.
Those anti-city activities, Leonard said, “cause my own support to wane.”