PORTLAND, Ore. - A handful of Occupy Portland protesters have been kicking around the idea of expanding their protest to another park in the city but Mayor Sam Adams said Thursday he won't allow it.
"We will not allow Occupy Portland to set up an alternative encampment at any other city park," Adams said in a statement. "Portland police officers have been reminding Occupy Portland participants of this throughout the week, and will continue to use their discretion in enforcing parks rules throughout the city."
A small number of protesters said earlier in the week they wanted to expand their occupation to Jamison Square in the Pearl District.
Adams said he's making decisions about the protesters' occupation of the city one day at a time. That has been his stance since the beginning of the protest.
"We must protect people's right to peacefully protest, while also keeping the city moving and working," he said.
Adams is currently overseas on a business trip.
The protest has cost the Portland Police Bureau about $182,000 in overtime.
Chief Mike Reese said the cost includes everything from traffic control for marches to round-the-clock security for the campers at Lownsdale and Chapman squares.
About 500 people have camped in the parks since Oct. 6.
Man tries to get a permit for the parks but is denied
Meanwhile, former Multnomah County sheriff's deputy, Bruce McCain, wanted to find out just what kinds of hoops have to be gone through to use the parks legally.
The protesters have been camping in the parks illegally without any permits the last three weeks.
McCain found out there is more than just one place to go in order to get approval to have a large-scale event in a city park.
He tried to plan an event of his own in Lownsdale and Chapman squares as a test to find out what the proper channels are to get a permit.
"If anybody else, except Occupy Portland, wanted to lawfully use these parks, they would have to go through at least six different bureaus – a million-dollar liability insurance," McCain said.
He described his event as celebrating the Constitutional right to free speech and would include more than 150 people with food and music, like Occupy Portland.
He was denied.
"There's no question there is a double standard," McCain said. "This has nothing to do with the anti-camping ordinance. This has to do with Title 20 under the parks and recreation-permit process."
A reporter went to the office of Portland Commissioner Nick Fish, who's in charge of the parks, and was directed to policy director Jim Blackwood who said, "It's up to Mayor Adams' discretion on how long Occupy Portland is going to be allowed to stay in the park."
"There is no way any other group would be allowed to set up a food kitchen and these kinds of structures in a public park like this and do so with impunity forever," McCain said.
McCain did say the city was more than helpful with one thing: "She was helpful in the sense, well, could you take your event someplace else?"
The city told McCain it could be another year before it'll start accepting permits to use Lownsdale and Chapman parks.
That's because they have to assess just how much damage has been done to the parks.