Organizers say they seek peaceful Portland occupation

Organizers say they seek peaceful Portland occupation »Play Video
Organizers of Occupy Portland say they want to keep their protest peaceful. From left to right: Bosh Aro, Chase Wilson, Gina Mason, Wes Laitinem and Joshua Clay.

PORTLAND, Ore. - A protest against Wall Street and corporate America is spreading to the Northwest and local organizers of Occupy Portland say the city shouldn't expect what happened in New York over the weekend – there police arrested more than 700 demonstrators as they marched across the Brooklyn Bridge.

A handful of people who are helping to plan Portland's rally this Thursday said Monday they are frustrated with politicians and with corporations. They say their feeling is that the most powerful one percent of the country is more or less calling the shots for the other 99 percent of Americans.

The group says it wants to keep the protest nonviolent and avoid confrontations with police. But they do expect a large crowd at the noon rally at Waterfront Park. Then they'll march to Pioneer Courthouse Square.

The group has not sought a permit to march in the middle of the street. They say they plan to stick to the sidewalks. But on Monday police offered to help the group obtain an event permit. It’s not clear if the group will take them up on that offer.

Then starting on Thursday night, the group plans to occupy a part of downtown Portland. It's not clear how long they plan to stay there.

"We'll be down here every day until this is taken care of. I personally am not going to leave," said Bosh Aro of Portland, a student at Portland Community College.

Group members stressed their commitment to nonviolence.

"We're going to keep it peaceful, and we're going to keep it lawful," said Joshua Clay, a Portland artist who is helping to organize Portland’s protest. "We just want people to come down and join us."

Occupy Portland protesters appear more focused on government and politicians while those in New York have directed more of their anger toward banks and big business.

"We don't have the money to throw at the political system, but we do have our personhood," said Gina Mason of Salem who is a graduate student at Portland State University. "Our voices aren't necessarily being heard by the people elected to represent us."

The Occupy Portland group will not say where it will set up its ongoing protest. They say they don't want to tip their hand to police before they're in place.

The group has attracted more than 3,800 followers to its Facebook page. They say they expect thousands to take part on Thursday. 

Supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement are also hoping to bring it to Eugene. The Occupy Eugene campaign is quickly gaining steam with more than a thousand members on Facebook.

At this point there are no protests planned. Organizers say they’re just trying to bring like-minded people together.