Occupy protesters force closure of 3 PDX terminals, 2 arrested

Occupy protesters force closure of 3 PDX terminals, 2 arrested »Play Video
A truck turns away from protesters who set up a picket line at a Port of Portland terminal Monday, Dec. 12, 2011, in Portland, Ore., as part of a West Coast "day of action." Anti-Wall Street protesters along the West Coast joined an effort Monday to blockade some of the nation's busiest docks, with the idea that if they cut off the ports, they cut into corporate profits. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Port of Portland shut down three of its four terminals on Monday after police arrested two people and seized weapons in the hours before a demonstration by the Anti-Wall Street movement.

In addition to terminals 5 and 6, which were closed earlier in the day, about 400 protesters marched on Terminal 4 early Monday evening, forcing officials to close it as well.

Security concerns were raised when police found the suspects in camouflage clothing with a gun, sword and walkie-talkies who said they were doing reconnaissance.

Police said one man in a car that was pulled over at about 2 a.m. had a loaded gun, identified by police as a Glock 40, in his possession. He also had gas masks.

Police identified the suspects as Jason Dean Barnes and Steven Liddicoat. Barnes was arrested on weapons charges and for driving while suspended. Liddicoat was arrested on an unrelated past warrant. The third person in the car was released at the scene.

Lt. Robert King with the Portland Police Bureau said the arrests of the men with weapons took place during a traffic stop and not at the protest site.
 
Kari Koch, a spokeswoman for Occupy Portland, said the two people taken into custody were not part of the demonstration.

"We do not send out folks with guns," Koch said.

A few hours later, police responded to a report of a crash involving two vehicles on the Marine Drive overpass over Interstate 5. Police said the pickup truck involved in the crash was stolen.

Police arrested 30-year-old Levi B. Feltkamp for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Feltkamp and the occupants of the stolen truck all indicated they were on their way to the Occupy demonstration. No injuries from the crash were immediately reported.

Police said the occupants of the vehicle indicated they were on their way to the demonstration.

Operators of Terminal 6, one of the facilities shut down, planned to keep it closed until 8 a.m. Tuesday due to concerns about worker safety, said Mark Price, assistant manager of International Container Terminal Services Inc. in Oregon.

Port officials say they plan to resume normal operations at all terminals Tuesday.

At least 325 workers from the longshoremen’s union were unable to work Monday due to the protest. The union said it sympathized with the goals of the Occupy movement but disagreed with shutting down operations that would deprive its members of pay.

Monday's protests

Occupy protesters began massing before dawn at Kelly Point Park and Pier Park in North Portland in preparation to participate in the larger West Coast protest movement leaders have been calling "shut down the ports" in support of the longshoreman's union.

The group eventually converged on the Terminal 6 and Terminal 5 locations in Portland, both busy sites for vessels loading and unloading shipping cargo onto trucks and trains.

The AP reported that protesters set their sights on two West Coast companies: port operator SSA Marine and grain exporter EGT. Giant investment firm Goldman Sachs owns a major stake in SSA Marine and has been a frequent target of protesters.

Other large protests took place in port cities such as Oakland, Calif., Longview, Wash., Los Angeles and other  West Coast locations including British Columbia.

Union members have said in the past that while they support the issues Occupy protesters are concerned about, they were worried the protest action Monday could affect the day's business and local workers daily paycheck.

While local International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) officials have not come out in direct support of the protests, Jennifer Sargent of the ILWU said she felt the actions did more harm than good. "We wish they would have talked to us in advance," Sargent told KATU News, "because there are ways to show support for us that are better than this, that wouldn't keep people home from work."

"To describe what's happening here today in one word, I'd say unfortunate," Josh Thomas, Port of Portland Spokesman said. "This, however well intended, is misguided, counterproductive and it sends the wrong message to the wrong people."

"We’re had to turn away hundreds of truckers today, and in some of those cases they will go home without pay today because they’re not able to do their job," Thomas added. "Then that also impacts dock workers, rail workers, office workers, anyone with a connection here at the marine terminal."

Before the march began, protester Chase Wilson told KATU News that the group hoped to halt operations at the port by raising safety concerns due to the large number of protesters. He said they "hoped workers do go home with a full day of pay."

Protester Corie Lahr of Mosier, Oregon, speculated that union officials were under the gun not to approve of the protest action but that the workers supported the cause.

"The union heads can't officially endorse this, they can get into legal trouble," Lahr said. "In order to pull something off like this, you have to be talking to workers themselves, they know the details of the ports and the gates, you know, so the rank and file has been involved."

Just before 7 a.m., riot police and officers on motorcycles appeared at the Terminal 6 location as hundreds of protesters arrived. A smaller march also took place at Terminal 5. Both locations had limited operations during the morning hours.

Some protesters blocked entry to the facility for one truck and more protesters were expected to arrive during the day Monday. The blocked truck moved on to another entrance.

Lt. King said officers were on the scene to support the Port workers but the entrance to the facility was actually closed and trucks were being detoured. No arrests of protesters at the Port of Portland locations have been announced.

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