NOTE: We have finished updating this story for the day. For the latest information, check out our recap of Portland's F29 protest.
PORTLAND, Ore. - Occupy Portland protesters have gathered downtown and are marching in an event known as "F29" (for February 29).
Police said the Occupy protesters did not have a permit to march in the streets, something organizers said was intended. Organizers said they wanted to keep the focus of their protest, companies involved with the American Legislative Exchange Council, unaware of their intentions.
Several KATU and KATU.com reporters are covering the event, which began with an 11:30 a.m. rally and was followed by a march through downtown at 1 p.m.
4:07 p.m.: Onlooker LaDon Deatherage works downtown and told KATU she was against today's protests.
"The statements they make aren't based on facts," she said. "A lot of it are the things they were saying in the sixties and seventies, they are just being recycled."
4:05 p.m.: Protesters have gathered at Waterfront Park and the crowd has started to thin out.
3:52 p.m.: KATU News will be on live with the latest at 4 p.m. Watch it online here.
3:50 p.m.: Wells Fargo released a statement about today's protests. The full statement is listed in bullet points below:
• We respect the rights of Americans to peacefully assemble and voice their opinions.
• We understand that people are demanding more from their financial institutions during these difficult economic times. We, too, would like to see the economy improve and are doing as much as we possibly can to help.
• We continue to support our customers and communities by working to keep people in their homes and lending to businesses that need financing to grow and create jobs.
• We fully repaid the $25 billion TARP investment the government made in Wells Fargo. This loan generated $1.44 billion in interest for U.S. taxpayers.
• Wells Fargo does not own shares of the GEO Group or Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), nor have we invested our own assets in either company. One of our mutual funds currently includes a small holding in the GEO Group on behalf of our customers, who own the shares.
• Fewer than 2 percent of the loans on owner-occupied properties in our mortgage servicing portfolio have resulted in a foreclosure sale over the past 12 months. We have not made one unwarranted foreclosure.
• While we respect the seriousness of the debate on immigration reform, the protesters are misdirected. It’s not our business to decide how issues like prison services and immigration are handled. We do not, as a corporation, take positions on public policy issues that do not directly affect our company’s ability to serve customers and support our team members.
3:40 p.m.: When the protesters stopped in front of Regence, a man claiming to be a Regence spokesman addressed the group. Regence says the man was not a legitimate spokesman and does not represent the organization.
Below is a statement from Regence spokesman Scott Burton, who KATU has confirmed is a Regence employee:
"This afternoon in front of the Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon headquarters, a member of the public purporting to be a spokesperson for Regence made statements about our company’s ties and connections to the American Legislative Exchange Council. This individual does not represent our organization.
"To make the facts clear, our company is not a member of ALEC and as such, we cannot resign from this organization’s membership rolls.
"We appreciate the public’s right to organize and exercise their right to free speech; however we’d like to take this opportunity to correct the record."
3:30 p.m.: Portland Police report the three people who chained themselves inside the Wells Fargo building have been taken into custody.
3:20 p.m.: Protesters are now at the Wells Fargo building downtown where at least two people have chained themselves inside the 34th floor, Lt. Robert King with the Portland Police Bureau said.
Protesters also passed out fliers calling for a "phone flash mob." They asked people to flood Wells Fargo with phone calls.
The flier reads "our communities have had enough. We are not your ATM." It lists a series of local Wells Fargo numbers.
3:00 p.m.: Protesters are rallying against the influence of a group called the "American Legislative Exchange Council," which lobbies for federalist principles and limited government control. It's been widely reported that ALEC is backed by large corporations that influence the laws pushed by the group.
"There's currently too much corporate control," said a protester who only wanted to be identified as Paula. "Some of us just really want peace."
"I love watching people so passionate about change and wanting to make the country better," said protester Chelsea Harris.
2:50 p.m.: Protesters gathered outside the Regence building on Market Steet. They are chanting about insurance company profits, although Regence is a (501)m nonprofit organization, according to their website.
2:30 p.m.: Protesters stopped outside the Oregonian's office. Doors are locked.
2:25 p.m.: Protesters are now moving up S.W. Broadway towards Portland State University.
2:20 p.m.: Shannon Cheesman reports protesters were "occupying McDonald's" at S.W. 6th and Main Street. Another group executed a similar occupation at a McDonald's in Northeast Portland but were told to leave by staff and police. Cheesman said the latest group left on their own after a short time.
2:15 p.m.: KATU reporter Dan Tilkin said two people were arrested for allegedly climbing on and breaking the window of an unmarked work van with ladders on it in front of the Verizon store near Pioneer Courthouse Square. Police caught up with them and arrested them outside the Justice Center.
2:11 p.m.: Watch some edited aerial video of the march from Jet 2:
2 p.m.: @OccupyOregon tweets:
1:53 p.m. Marchers are headed down S.W. Salmon Street towards the Willamette River. This will take them close to Lownsdale and Chapman Square parks, where the Occupy Portland movement first gathered last year.
1:45 p.m.: @OccupyOregon tweets:
1:36 p.m.: Marchers are now headed up S.W. Broadway towards Pioneer Courthouse Square.
1:30 p.m.: KATU's Jet 2 is in the air over the protest march. Watch live footage here.
1:24 p.m.: KATU.com's Shannon Cheesman says more police have shown up including about 20 officers on bicycles. She says the march pretty much shut down Burnside Street.
1:21 p.m.: @OccupyOregon tweets: "Our first stop: 76 gas station on Burnside and 4th"
1:15 p.m.: KATU reporter Bob Heye sent this photo of officers watching a long line of protesters as the Occupy march got under way at 1 p.m. Police said the group is now moving westbound on S.W. Pine Street near 3rd Avenue.
12:59. Thom Jensen said protesters were inside the McDonald's and made to leave. Shannon Cheesman says the marchers are now heading down Front Avenue, destination unknown. She estimates the crowd at 300 to 400 people. She counted about 10 police officers on bicycles.
12:53 p.m.: Thom Jensen says the group at N.E. Weidler and Grand Ave. are protesting at Walgreen's, a Shell gas station and a Wells Fargo bank branch. He says they are being watched by about nine police officers.
12:40 p.m.: KATU reporter Thom Jensen has sent back photos of protesters outside the Walgreen's on N.E. Weidler and Grand. Many are wearing clinical "bunny suits," surgical masks and hard hats. We're adding the photos to our gallery.
12:37 p.m.: KATU reporter Bob Heye has put together a 360-degree panorama photo of the protesters near the Burnside Bridge.
12:30 p.m.: KATU reporter Thom Jensen reports about 30 protesters are near a cluster of fast-food locations at the intersection of N.E. Weidler and Grand Ave. A McDonald's is located there. Burger King, Taco Bell and a KFC are a block away.
Noon: Before the rally began, Mayor Sam Adams released a statement: "The City of Portland has been preparing for the F29 event, with a goal of facilitating a peaceful, effective, and orderly event where everyone is safe.
"Representatives of the my office and the Portland Police Bureau have been reaching out to those organizing the F29 event. My office has had several constructive conversations with the organizers. In all of our communications to date, event organizers have reiterated their intent to facilitate a non-violent event. Though people claiming to be affiliated with F29 committed multiple acts of vandalism this morning, it is our hope that today’s rally and march will be a non-violent event."
Read the full statement here.
11:15 a.m.: Occupy protesters say they will hold a press conference at noon to address issues they have with the Portland Police. At present there are only a few police officers across the street from the site of the gathering under the Burnside Bridge.
11 a.m.: The crowd is growing under the Burnside Bridge. Rally expected that start at 11:30.
10:50 a.m.: Protesters are beginning to gather under the west side of the Burnside Bridge. As of 10:50 a.m., there were about 25 people on hand.