PORTLAND, Ore. – Shortly after Mayor Sam Adams announced the city will close the parks currently occupied by protesters, a group of demonstrators marched on City Hall, forcing employees within to lock the doors Thursday.
The group that at one point grew to about 100 protesters contained many who were angry at the mayor's ultimatum for them to be out of Lownsdale and Chapman parks by 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
There were no major confrontations but police did arrest a naked man who sat on the steps of City Hall beneath a sign that read: "End the war, tax the rich."
About a dozen police officers escorted the man, who went peacefully, off City Hall property.
Many of those who gathered at City Hall tossed out ideas on what they should do next. Those ranged from moving to other parks or negotiating with the city. But a lot of the protesters were defiant, saying they won’t stand down when police move in.
"I'm not ready to move out of the parks," said protester David Robinson. "I'm ready to get hit in the face by police. I'm prepared to sit calmly, peacefully, and I'm also prepared, while I'm sitting calmly and peacefully, to be hurt. I'm really prepared on being hurt by the police."
As a group, the protesters have not made any official decision about what to do but some are trying to get everybody on the same page.
"Even though we don't want to be forcibly removed, we are receiving more notice for this action than any other city in the nation has received," said Adrienne Ackerman using a bull horn to address the gathered crowd. "What that means is that we have the opportunity to really come together in a way we haven’t before and tactically address this."
Several explosions were heard in the occupied parks at about 5 p.m. According to police, fireworks were set off in the Occupy Portland camps. They said there was no damage, fire or arrests.
Protesters plan on meeting again at 7 p.m. but there is definitely a split in terms of the group's direction.
The mayor's announcement came as a relief for some of the people who own businesses downtown. Many have been asking the mayor to close the camp.
They say the timing couldn't have been better because the holiday shopping season is about to get underway.
This is the time of the year many of the downtown businesses make the bulk of their revenue, and business owners say they don't need any trouble, even just the perception of it.
Brent Collier owns an eclectic men's clothing and accessories store on Broadway. He said customers seem to be avoiding downtown, maybe because of worries over the hassle of Occupy Portland.
He's not against the movement but said he supports the mayor's decision. And he said businesses downtown don't need anything beyond the economy keeping suburban shoppers away.
"It's not their comfort zone and add that to it, it can be a pretty powerful negative," Collier said. "For that to spread out and get worse and attracting more people, I think it's perfect timing."
Collier and other business owners said the mayor's deadline seems to be a thoughtful resolution and a thoughtful approach that takes into account everyone who uses that part of town.
Judge raises bail
Meanwhile, a judge raised the bail for the Occupy protester suspected of throwing a Molotov cocktail at the World Trade Center building in downtown Portland Tuesday.
David Hodson appeared in court today, and the judge raised his bail to $1 million.
The Molotov cocktail caused minor damage to exterior stairs.
Hodson was also arrested Sunday on charges related to starting fires near the Occupy Portland camps.
KATU News reporter Anita Kissée contributed to this report.
Watch Mayor Sam Adams' Thursday morning news conference: