Eight protestors with Occupy Portland were arrested by Portland Police just before six on Thursday morning. The eight arrested were blocking Main Street, which Democratic Party Mayor Sam Adams stated must be reopened. The majority of the protestors had reached a “modified consensus” Wednesday night, with 80 percent agreeing to open Main Street to buses, bicycles and emergency traffic, and to a protest march planned for Saturday. The arrested eight were the only ones actively blocking the road at that time. Several people sleeping on the road in sleeping bags were woken and moved.
The arrests come one week after the start of the Occupy Portland actions began. The group has been occupying two public squares in downtown Portland, Oregon near City Hall and had closed the street which runs between the two blocks.
There has been close attention paid to the Occupy group by the Portland Police from the start, and conflicting reports as to the extent of Mayor Adams’ involvement. On October 8, the Occupy Portland web page announced: “Tomorrow we march! We march with the mayor’s office, the Portland police department and the Portland marathon chief officers. The mayor’s office graciously invited us to join the race, behind the runners at 2:30PM.” This announcement was updated with a release from the mayor’s office stating in part that Sam Adams and the police had not invited the protestors to march, but that the mayor supported their right to protest.
According to Lt Robert King, of the Portland PD, “We’ve been talking to and working with organizers since they arrived. We've been really clear that both being in the park as well as the street constitutes a violation.”
At this point only the street has been ordered cleared, with the Mayor saying he has no plans to remove the protestors from the park blocks. “We are not moving against the camps,” he said to the Oregonian.
The close involvement of the police and Mayor has rankled some of the Occupy Portland participants, with a group of approximately 100 breaking off from part of the October 9 march at the point where it had been expected the Mayor would be joining the march. The group detoured and joined the rest of the march only many blocks later.