Crowds gather for 'Occupy Portland' protest march

Crowds gather for 'Occupy Portland' protest march »Play Video
Organizers of Occupy Portland told KATU News Monday they want to keep their protest peaceful. From left to right: Bosh Aro, Chase Wilson, Gina Mason, Wes Laitinem and Joshua Clay.

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland police said organizers of Occupy Portland, a protest against Wall Street and corporate America, will not obtain a permit for their downtown protest.

The event is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 6 at 12:00 p.m. at Waterfront Park. Participants began to arrive before 10 a.m. and by 11 a.m. it appeared over 100 people had gathered. A march to Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

Like other "Occupy" protests acorss the nation, some protesters plan to keep the rally going for days or longer.

Portland Mayor Same Adams posted a statement at about 11 a.m., ending with "a peaceful event is the most effective way for participants to deliver that message." The entire text of his statement appears below. He also talks about the event in this video.

Police said they received a fax from someone claiming to be an event organizer Tuesday night that said the following:

“Currently there is no plan to obtain a permit since this movement has no leadership and further legal advice from the National Lawyers Guild advises against obtaining a permit. For best impact we will march in the streets and disrupt the city.”

Read the entire fax

On Wednesday, KATU Reporter Patrick Preston spoke with Occupy Portland group member and website administrator Chase Wilson, who said the group does not want to disrupt the city, as the fax mentioned. Thursday morning, an unofficial route map was making the rounds online.

Organizer Joshua Clay called KATU in the afternoon to say they traced the fax to a number in British Columbia and that it does not represent the Occupy Portland movement. A website associated with the protest has also disavowed the fax and claims it was sent from Canada.

Several other Occupy Portland organizers spoke with KATU News Monday. They said the group wants to keep the protest nonviolent and avoid confrontations with police.

They said they do expect a large crowd at the noon rally at Waterfront Park. Then they said they’ll march to Pioneer Courthouse Square. It’s not clear how long they plan to stay there.

Police are skeptical that marchers will follow the route discussed by organizers. Sergeant Pete Simpson told KATU News police will have a "substantial" presence with officers from all precincts on hand before noon in case the march is early.

The Portland Police Bureau is asking downtown businesses to be ready for possible disruptions. Simpson said police may not have the resources to make arrests on property crimes, but they will follow up on all incidents with video taken by police, business surveillance cameras and media footage.

Police also said there may be traffic disruptions, including TriMet traffic, during the event. They are advising drivers to stay out of the downtown area Thursday afternoon, if possible.

Group members stressed their commitment to nonviolence on Monday. “We’re going to keep it peaceful, and we’re going to keep it lawful,” said Joshua Clay, a Portland artist who helped organize the rally. “We just want people to come down and join us.”

Statement from Portland Mayor Sam Adams:

A group called Occupy Portland has announced plans to peacefully assemble in Waterfront Park today at noon, march through downtown, and ultimately occupy a downtown park or other location. The Occupy Wall Street movement started in New York City and "Occupy" events like these have happened in dozens of cities across the country in recent weeks, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The vast majority of these events have been conducted peacefully.

The City of Portland has been preparing for the Occupy Portland event, with a goal of facilitating a peaceful, effective, and orderly event where everyone is safe.

Representatives of the City of Portland and the Portland Police Bureau have outreached to those helping to organize Occupy Portland activities, and have encouraged the group to obtain a permit and/or share their planned march route and gathering spots. A permit allows the Police Bureau, TriMet, and other agencies to plan for a safe, peaceful, and lawful event. Occupy Portland has so far not obtained a permit; regardless, the Police Bureau will be working to facilitate a safe and orderly procession. Obviously there may be disruptions in vehicle, pedestrian, and TriMet traffic in the downtown core on Thursday afternoon, beginning at noon.

I support Portlanders in their right to protest and exercise free speech rights, and I encourage all who participate to do so peacefully and with respect to the rights of others. Most of the people that are going to participate in Occupy Portland--as with most of the participants in cities across the country--are there to voice their legitimate concerns about national issues. A peaceful event is the most effective way for participants to deliver that message.

Updates regarding this or any event impact at and via Twitter @PublicAlerts.


Sam Adams