PORTLAND, Ore. – Hoping to recapture the energy of the original Occupy Wall Street protests, marchers in Portland and around the country took to the streets on Monday to mark the one year anniversary of the movement.
About 100 Occupy Portland demonstrators marched on the sidewalk through Southeast Portland on Monday afternoon. They are both celebrating the anniversary of the original Occupy protests in New York and also trying to draw attention to the plight of General Motors workers in Columbia.
"This isn't intended to disrupt," said demonstrator Greg Margolis. "In fact, Occupy isn't intended to disrupt. It's intended to make changes and sometimes when we look historically disruption is necessary to make changes."
During Monday's march, protesters stayed on the sidewalks and police did not interfere.
Demonstrators we spoke with at the Portland march concede that their movement has fizzled out a bit since last year when they took over parks around the country, but they insist that their message is still strong.
While Occupy Wall Street started in September 2011, the first large-scale Occupy demonstration didn’t start in Portland until October. That’s when thousands of people marched downtown and eventually set up camp for six weeks in two city parks.
“It’s not as visible as it once was,” said Keri Koch with Occupy Portland. “Over the last nine months we haven’t been at camp, people have been in their communities organizing, which I think is more powerful.
For example, Koch says they’re most proud of their work in North and Northeast Portland reclaiming foreclosed homes.
One of those foreclosed homes was “liberated” in May when demonstrators smashed a lock and put a woman back in her house before the bank foreclosed on her.
The various protests also did not come cheap to the city. Portland police says they spent about $2 million policing the protests and the parks bureau spent around $78,000 to clean up parks.