protesters gave up their blockade of Southwest Main Street Sunday night, moving to Pioneer Courthouse Square and ending the movement's direct confrontation with Portland police and city officials.
Police had pushed Occupiers west to Main Street from Chapman and Lownsdale Squares in the early afternoon, blocking traffic on the street for most of the afternoon as they stared across 4th Avenue at a line of police in riot gear. Protesters held a long meeting in the street, eventually deciding to heed police instructions to clear the road. Moves to Washington High School and PSU's campus were considered before consensus gelled around Pioneer Square.
Occupiers left for the square – using sidewalks as demanded by police – about 5:15 pm. There they held a meeting about the future of the movement fueled by 50 pies from Pizza Schmizza. The meeting appeared to be mostly made up of the weekend warriors who'd turned out en mass to protect the camps the night before, a group that evaporated after dawn, giving police the chance to pick the place apart throughout the morning. That set up a showdown at the fort-like “420 Hotel” tarps
before 2 pm, a confrontation that ended in the retreat onto Main Street.
Inside the Pioneer Square meeting the only noticeable police presence consisted of two officers watching the 75-foot holiday tree that will be ceremoniously lit there the day after Thanksgiving. Bicycle cops sat across the street from Pioneer Square, finding cover from a light rain under the awning at Nordstrom. Back at Chapman and Lownsdale Squares officers in full riot gear continued to guard the parks, now ringed with barbed wire fence and lit by portable lights. Two empty city buses, presumably to transport arrested protesters if needed, sat idle on 2nd Avenue.
At dawn Sunday
Occupy Portland's camps were largely unchanged from the day before, a sea of tents sparsely populated with encamped protesters cooking breakfast in a celebratory mood. By sundown every tent and tarp on Chapman and Lownsdale Squares was gone, hauled away in dump trucks as the empty park sat under heavy guard. City officials had simply waited until the wave of supporters – some of them lured by fliers handed out downtown on Saturday afternoon – crested, leaving only a few hundred tired campers to try to hold the park. That group made it past noon, but in the end they were driven out, across the street, and then over to a grassless park where a Christmas tree and a Starbucks towered overhead.