Mayor Sam Adams delivered a deadline today to Occupy Portland, saying the protesters and campers have 62 hours—until Sunday at 12:01 am—to vacate Chapman and Lownsdale Squares downtown
The Occupiers moved an emergency General Assembly at the front door of City Hall, which locked its doors at 10:30 am. The protesters repeatedly declared they would not leave and discussed strategies for defying police action.
Occupier Arlo Stone said, "What would you like us to do? Call New York and tell them we brokered a deal for an Eastside apartment? Fuck you! We hold the park!"
Adams spoke at a City Hall press conference this morning with Police Bureau Chief Mike Reese and other city officials.
"Crime, especially, reported assaults has increased in the area and around the camps. This is in addition to the health and sanitation issues the camp has brought about," Adams said. "The cost to the community is rapidly increasing."
City Commissioner Nick Fish, who heads the parks and housing bureaus, said earlier this week he thought the camp needed to close and pulled his parks employees out.
But he wouldn't comment on Adams dragging his feet on the issue. "This isn't the time to second guess the mayor," Fish said.
For his own part, Adams said the tipping point came in the last two days. A man connected with Occupy Portland allegedly lit a Molotov cocktail Tuesday night outside the World Trade Center and two people in the camp have overdosed on drugs. One of them had to be rescued Wednesday night after overdosing on heroin he allegedly bought in the camp. Officers gave him CPR.
Adams said these events led him to order the closing of the parks.
"I cannot wait for someone to die in camp," Adams added.
Reese said his officers would handle the situation much like they did the evictions of protesters from Terry Schrunk Plaza and Jamison Square during the past two weeks. Both incidents resulted in arrests but no major conflict.
Reese says his officers responded to those events and others "in a professional and restrained manner, even in the face of conflict and confrontation.""We're hoping for a very peaceful resolution to this,"
says Reese, who is getting ready to announce a run for mayor.
Jim Oliver and Alaina Melville, Occupy Portland liaisons to City Hall, said afterward they doubted Reese.
Oliver said, "We have grave concern because the Portland Police Bureau is currently under federal investigation for police brutality."
He said they were hoping for the best (no tear gas, no pepper spray, no batons) but did not plan to leave peacefully.
"There are people in Occupy Portland who have nowhere else to go," Oliver said. "We're disappointed with (the city's) choice to disconnect homeless people from the community they've come to know and love."
Catch up on WW
's coverage of Occupy Portland here
.This post has been corrected to reflect some math errors.