Portland Mayor Announces Plans to Sweep Out the Occupy ICE Camp

Decision comes after some protesters announced plans to leave the camp.

(Sam Gehrke)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced today the city is moving toward sweeping out the protest camp that has endured for a month next to the South Waterfront headquarters of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

City officials will formally issue a notice of eviction later today, so that the city can move in to demolish structures the mayor said were unsafe. Wheeler did not announce a precise time frame for when the camp might actually be swept.

UPDATE, 5:25 pm: WW's news partner KATU-TV has obtained a copy of the eviction notice. It says the camp sweep could begin as soon as tomorrow, July 24.

For more than a month, protesters have camped out near the federal immigration agency's Portland office. The camp forced the closure of the ICE office for the first week of demonstrations, until federal police raided the camp June 28 and pushed it away from the building entrance.

The camp at its height grew to more than 90 tents and 200 people. It has largely been erected on Trimet and city property, not the property rented by the federal agency.

The mayor's decision comes shortly after reports of frustration and fear from South Waterfront restaurants and businesses, who have grown exhausted by the often hostile interactions between protesters and federal agents.

Related: A local food cart owner said Occupy ICE protesters threatened to burn down the cart for serving ICE agents.

Wheeler and City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly emphasized different explanations of why the decision came today.

Wheeler said the move comes after Patriot Prayer demonstrators showed up at the camp on Friday—a potentially violent confrontation that the mayor asked Portland Police Bureau to show up to.

"We're concerned about that kind of activity bleeding over to more concerning situations," Wheeler said.

Eudaly said the move came after a split between two factions of demonstrators at the camp. She said the "Abolish ICE" protesters, who "are more representative of the impacted communities," have already left, while other protestors remain.

"They are moving on, so what we're hoping is that other faction follows suit," she says. "We should be listening to the voices of the people who are most impacted."

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.