City Hall protester Cameron Whitten declared victory and ended his 55-day hunger strike last week. Today, the city kicked his fellow protesters out.
About a dozen Portland Police officers performed a sweep of the sidewalk in front of City Hall late this morning to force protesters to move across Southwest 4th Street and take their belongings.
The sweep lasted about 30 minutes and resulted in one arrest and a couple written citations to those who refused to clear their belongings from the middle of the sidewalk.
"I am doing nothing wrong," said a man going by the name of "99," a common nickname among Occupy Portland protesters. "I have a job to do here and that's to get my message out. I ain't hurting no one."
Police arrested "99" after he refused to take his blankets and a green file crate to the other side of the street. Police officers detained him before seizing his and several other protesters' belongings, including four large green boxes filled with a random assortment of clothes, blankets and protest signs.
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese oversaw the sweep. He stood in the City Hall courtyard, watching the eviction and talking to reporters.
"The situation out here has become unmanageable and we've been trying to encourage people to go into appropriate shelter or low-impact camping options," Reese said. "There was a lot of debris blocking the sidewalk and there was some illegal behavior taking place so we had to take action."
He's referring to City Hall complaints that protesters were having sex on the sidewalk.
For more than a month, Whitten drew Occupy-related protesters to the sidewalk in front of City Hall, where he went on a liquid diet to demand the city provide more homeless services and stop fining an illegal camp on Burnside. Though Whitten received no concessions from the city, he declared victory last Friday.
WW did not see Whitten at City Hall today. Police took his signs.