This article is from Nov 30th, but worth posting here. It’s a reportback from the N17 actions downtown Portland.
From IndyBay. Nov30:
Invest in People Not Prisons!
My article surrounding an action that took place in downtown Portland, OR.
“They shutdown Occupy Portland, we shutdown the banks!”
A member of the “Occupy Portland” movement briefly exclaimed to me following a November 17th occupy action.
For an estimated five weeks of occupation of Plaza Blocks Park, the “Occupy Portland” movement, continued its cause in defiance to the city’s order to be evicted. Although Portland Mayor Sam Adams had the police remove the movement from Plaza Blocks Park, located near Pioneer Square Courthouse, on November 13th, protestors returned three days later.
“Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!” These were the constant chants my ears captured of daily demonstrations taking place, in the downtown area. Police prevented them from entering numerous businesses. The street of SW 4th/Taylor suddenly became a sight similar to the 60’s era……without police and protestors clashing.
On November 16th, I was standing by the rear entrance Standard Insurance Building, in my typical poised position with a stack of “Street Roots” papers on one arm, while holding my umbrella on the other to shield myself from scattered showers.
Suddenly, somewhere in the noon hour, the action appeared out of nowhere. The police, (some from other counties) arrived armed in riot gear. They marched right by me like Star War Storm Troopers. Some gave me a smile of respect and I returned it.
Despite the stories I’ve heard about Portland Police, they never presented a problem to me, unlike my rivalry with the San Francisco Police Department. Unlike my heated rivalry with the San Francisco Police Department, there was no need for me to give them any gruesome glances as they marched by. The street sections of SW 4th/Taylor were immediately sealed of, re-routing traffic motorists and pedestrians.
Portland Police were poised, armed with batons and barred all incoming foot traffic.
“I can’t even go back to work!” I heard a woman angrily say to another as they appear to be coming back from a lunch break.
The Occupy Portland movement showed up soon thereafter. The entire building of Standard Insurance was surrounded and flanked, by the fury from their physical and verbal presence. It’s rooftops wasn’t even immune from occupation. I observed at least one occupier ordered to be removed, and ended up arrested upon his refusal.
Apparently their anger was aimed at forcing/voicing out financial institutions. Banks were the targeted prize (no pun intended) for this particular protest, particularly Wells and Fargo.
“Invest in people not prisons!”
“Twelve people were arrested at Wells and Fargo, today.” I heard the lead organizer for the event shout out through her bullhorn megaphone. “We are here not because we are mad at the police, but we are mad at the banks!” She later explained and exclaimed how this bank “profits off of private prisons” and detentions for undocumented immigrants.
“We need them to stop!”
The Occupy Portland movement surrounded downtown Portland throughout most of the day. I would later learn that numerous banks immediately closed following the arrest of at least 12 people who attempted to occupy Wells and Fargo.