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Bikes lend support to historic protest at Occupy Portland (Photos)

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 13th, 2011 at 7:14 am

A large group of people on bikes showed up in solidarity with Occupy Portland this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)


The 'bike swarm' showed up in force early this morning in downtown Portland. Despite cold temps and intermittent rain, the group of riders swelled to well over 100 and stayed strong and rode together through the final moments of what will be remembered as an historic — and peaceful — protest.

The idea of the swarm was to have people on bikes do laps around the Occupy Portland encampments in Chapman and Lownsdale Squares. With an eviction order planned to be served at 12:01 am this morning, many thought a confrontation was likely and that the presence of a mass of riders would help create a buffer zone between police and protesters.

I rode with the group off and on from about 11:45 pm to about 5:15 am this morning.

It turned out that things remained relatively peaceful the entire morning, with only a minor and short-lived skirmish (there was no confrontation involving bikes).

As cops in full riot gear encircled the parks, a stream of people on bicycles would ride by — dinging bells, lights blinking — and the very appreciative crowd would yell "thank you!" and give high fives as we passed. The 'bike brigade' (as I heard one reporter call it), seemed to provide everyone with a little stress relief. The passing line of bikes also helped break the monotony of what was a very long morning.

At one point, after a long and tense standoff between thousands of protestors and cops in riot gear that had closed 3rd Ave to all vehicle traffic, the line of bikes poked through and people erupted in cheers. "The bikes are back. Everything's going to be o.k.," I heard someone say.

At the end of the night, after occupiers respected a request from police to retreat back to the parks, all that was left of the police force was a line of cops in riot gear blocking SE Madison Ave. The crowd chanted, "Who's blocking the street now?" and the bike brigade rolled right up to them. The cops relented and the bikes rolled through. A magical moment and one that saw bikes take center stage for a brief — yet very poignant and pivotal moment.

See it in the video below (by Big Pauper, uploaded by Token Recluse):

Making it even better was all the major news networks carrying footage of smiling people riding bikes peacefully through the streets throughout the night.

[Note: If you weren't there, please understand that the bike swarm/brigade did not interfere with the police. This is because the police were passive and peaceful almost the entire night. When the police did move forward aggressively for a brief moment, the bike swarm was nowhere around.]

Thanks to Dan Kaufman and the ride leader tonight (I didn't get her name but she was awesome!) and of course to everyone that showed up for this epic pedal. See more photos below...

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  • Daniel R. Miller November 13, 2011 at 7:46 am

    The name of the woman who led the ride for most of the night is Katherine. She was amazing. The whole thing was amazing. I had some internal skepticism about the "swarm" going in, but decided to go anyway, and the simple and powerful reality of it settled all debate. When there is a massive show of intimidating armed force against unarmed citizens who are doing nothing worse than congregating in a large number, you have to be on the side of the unarmed people. You just do.

    It is not quite true to say that there was no police confrontation with the bikes. The moment of most intense near-mass-arrest was one in which the bikes had a crucial place. For whatever reason, the moment at about 2:00 AM when the police chose close in on the Park and to divide 3rd Ave. at Main with a double phalanx of riot cops and horses, was the very moment when the bulk of the riders were making their way through that very spot. I found myself, along with about half the ride, literally face to face with the line of robo-cops, plus others holding and pointing tear-gas rifles right literally at me, at many others. I didn't intend to be in such a position when I left the house, but there i was. I told the two cops right in front of me, "I love you." It was all I could think to do. I was quite certain of arrest at that point. The crowd, pedestrians and bikers with bikes, was too tight to retreat even if I'd wanted to. That was a crucial point. The street was clogged with people and bikes. I think the physical blocking presence of the bikes made it tactically much more difficult to execute a mass arrest. But anyway, there were just way too many people for the police to handle.
    The police backing down a few hours later at Madison was a sweet little capstone.
    I am not inherently anti-police (in fact earlier this year i worked with them to retrieve a stolen hand-built bike that someone on my street was trying to sell), but it makes me angry to see force called up and used in that way against an unarmed group who are doing nothing essentially wrong. This time, sheer numbers and an fascinating chess game played with some genius by the inspiration of the moment, won a tactical and moral victory. Tomorrow is another day...

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    • Allan Folz November 13, 2011 at 9:53 am

      Awesome account Dan. Thanks. You, my friend, and all the swarm riders were heros last night.

      I'm hoping, though to be honest not hopeful, the national media takes note and chooses to juxtapose Portland's official response with NYC's & Oakland's. I think our mayor deserves commendation here. The mayor sets the tone. Portland police know they won't be given official cover if they engage in the flagrant civil rights abuses like they have been in Oakland and NYC and Berkeley and Nashville and others. The list is long.

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      • Daniel R. Miller November 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm

        Alan, so true, it could have gone down SO much worse, and if Portland's Mayor and cops were like those in NYC and other cities, it would have been epic mayhem. I'm just glad I'm not a mayor of any of these cities.

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        • matt picio November 13, 2011 at 10:10 pm

          For those who aren't aware, Chief Mike Reese was Commander of Central Precinct a couple years ago when the WNBR organizers began cooperating with the police bureau to make WNBR safer with the giant crowds it's drawn the last few years. Reese was once the head of SERT in Portland (Portland's version of SWAT). As both Commander of Central Precinct and the Chief of Police, Mike Reese has made serious efforts to balance public safety with the concerns of cyclists and advocacy and protest groups. It's a very fine line to walk, especially with pressure from the mayor, city council, and civic & business interests on the one side, and the general public, civic & advocacy groups and protestors on the other. Sure, the police bureau has issues. Sure, there are some officers on the force who make bad decisions, or use unnecessary force - but look at how Portland's police act overall, and compare Portland's police with Oakland's, or New York's, or any number of other cities.

          We've got good cops here - and they work hard under very demanding circumstances and conditions. We've always got to remain vigilant to exercise and defend our rights, but at the same time, let's recognize where things are going right. There was a confrontation, and there was intimidation, but no mass use of force - and the Occupy individuals by and large were peaceful, unified, and steadfast. This really *is* a win for both sides, and for sanity. This is exactly why Portland is an awesome place to be.

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          • wsbob November 13, 2011 at 11:12 pm

            Portland's police in response to OP seems to have been far more restrained than they were in response to Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrations in the past. That they were more restrained could be due in part to a difference in PD leadership. I hope so, since Reece seems to in the run for Portland Mayor.

            There's likely a lot of additional factors that contributed to the police not taking more of an aggressive stance towards Occupy than it did.

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          • 9watts November 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

            "We've got good cops here - and they work hard under very demanding circumstances and conditions. "

            maybe so. Although this video doesn't look good to me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BtLxuh88ck
            linked here: http://inagist.com/OccupyOregon/136001836690845697/

            What is with all the big sticks and the face shields?

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    • GDorn November 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      Here's video from the 1:45am standoff and horse charge. I was maybe ten, fifteen feet from the police line and completely boxed in. At a minute in, some asshat threw some firecrackers, but they had no effect on the horses or basically anybody. A few minutes after this, the line of cops backed off and the protesters spilled out on to 3rd and the swarm resumed.

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      • GDorn November 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm
      • Daniel R. Miller November 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

        OK, so those were *firecrackers*, but they were more than ordinary firecrackers, I honestly had thought in that moment that they were some kind of tear gas thing because there was a strong odor of sulpher/rotten eggs. Honestly, we're lucky the cops didn't go absolutely apeshit at that moment. Cops in any other city would have.

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        • Joshua November 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm

          I agree. Whoever was behind that deserves to be rightly ostracized. That could have ended a lot worse.

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      • Daniel R. Miller November 13, 2011 at 10:39 pm

        OK, so those were *firecrackers*, but they were more than ordinary firecrackers, I honestly had thought in that moment that they were some kind of tear gas thing because there was a strong odor of sulphur/rotten eggs. Stinkbomb I guess. Honestly, we're lucky the cops didn't go absolutely ape-s*** at that moment. Cops in any other city would have.

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  • Hugh Johnson November 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

    Hey Maus, since you obviously so support this "movement" why don't you get down there and help clean up the mess?

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    • noah November 13, 2011 at 8:46 am

      Hugh, since you're an exponent of this brand of personal responsibility, you're also in favor of fighting in any war you advocate; you're in favor of European-style driving taxes that express the actual impact of oil consumption; and you're in favor of industrial polluters accounting fixing 100% of their messes by way of full cleanups and lifetime victim compensation for all medical costs, e.g. in Bhopal, Love Canal, the upper Hudson, the Gulf Coast, and so on.

      In this respect, you have much in common with the Occupy movement.

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    • ron November 14, 2011 at 9:45 am

      Wow, what a helpful contribution to the discussion.

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      • Hugh Johnson November 14, 2011 at 5:18 pm

        Yes I know, again if you are not a devout worshiper of Jonathan you are not entitled to an opinion. Why have a message forum at all then? I'm sure even Jonathan doesn't want sunshine blown up his ass all the time.

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    • J- November 14, 2011 at 11:00 am

      While I did not wind up staying the whole night or participating in the bike swarm, I did return on Sunday to clean up. Other Occupy supporters including myself participated in removing almost everything in Lownsdale Square. Parks staff was really involved primarily in the loading of materials into the dump trucks with their equipment. Cleanup was made possible by the City providing that infrastructure. But almost all the physical work of picking up people’s stuff (and garbage) was done by Occupy volunteers. The police were really not involved in cleaning up; just supervising to make sure that the flow of stuff was out of the camp, not back in. At around noon Sunday, cleanup was completed in Lownsdale and Occupiers were cleaning up Chapman when the police came in and forced everybody (including us cleaning up) out of the park. So those who charge that Occupy was not involved in the cleanup are misinformed of the reality – cleanup was progressing when the final forcible eviction came. The majority of the cleanup was done by volunteers – who now will likely be prohibited in helping with additional re-vegetation and re-seeding tasks.

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      • wsbob November 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm

        J-November...nice job on your part in helping to clean up Lownsdale Park. So Sunday 12 noon was the final clear-out time, rather than the 1:30pm I'd thought.

        OP should have had the entire parks area cleared of people and their possessions by 12:01am Sunday. OP and people in the parks had 72 hours notice to do this, much of which they wasted.

        The city should definitely have accepted offers on the part of volunteers to help refurbish the parks once the people and possessions were gone.

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    • Onyx November 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      My understanding is that most of the parks had been cleaned up before the eviction deadline. The things left behind were most likely the belongings of those who refused to leave. In any case, they were all put behind barbed wire a few hours later.

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  • shirtsoff November 13, 2011 at 8:37 am

    What fun! I love the smiles and good energy found throughout the photos.

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  • Alex Reed November 13, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Thank you, Daniel, Jonathan, and the others who supported the Occupy movement. I wasn't sure who whether staying in the parks was a good idea given the presence of so many people with personal difficulties or mental illness, so I didn't show up.

    But now, I am realizing that those who protect the least among us must be in the right. Giving the homeless a legal place to camp will not fix our broken political system. But it is a good thing to do, and a good place for Occupy Portland to start.

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  • 9watts November 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Good work all around. Thanks for being there and documenting this, Jonathan.

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  • Betsy November 13, 2011 at 8:56 am

    I also rode in the 'bike brigade'. Hi Daniel. The moment when we rode east on Madison chanting "who's blocking traffic now?" should not be underestimated. People on bikes used the human mic to coordinate chants and tactics on-the-fly. We used basic traffic laws to clear riot cops from SW 3rd and Madison peacefully, quickly, and decisively. Not only was this a huge boost for protester morale, but this bike-based action also totally changed the spectrum of tactics available to police at that moment. Truly epic.

    Many thanks to Katherine and to the guy with the rad cargo bike who kept us hydrated throughout the night.

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    • Daniel R. Miller November 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      Betsy, you are so right. That moment was amazing and powerful. A testament to the genius of the moment and the power of simple moral force embodied on the fly by a determined group.

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      • q`Tzal November 14, 2011 at 6:23 am

        Selfishly speaking this particular act may have a positive impact on the general public's view of cyclists presents on public roadways.

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    • Joshua November 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      I ended up cut off from the group after the horses moved in. I had stopped the lap before to talk to some friends and by time I found everyone again I was having to take off (this was probably around 3 or so when I finally made it out of the crowd). I went home and watched on livestream for a bit and was really happy to see that so many people were able to stay. It was really one of the most uplifting nights I've had in a while and the sense of community between everyone, including the swarm riders was amazing. My thanks to everyone.

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  • Joe November 13, 2011 at 9:06 am

    awesome ! keep rollin.

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  • Kevin November 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Just when i thought the bike community in Portland wasnt all that crazy afterall, they jump in with the occupy wackos. Good job.

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    • Otto November 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      What is the "bike community"?

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      • Kevin November 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm

        When the preeminent bike blog for the Portland area throws its weight behind a political movement, I feel that some large aspect of the biking "community" is behind this craziness.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm

          I don't consider this a political movement. It's a social movement- big difference.

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          • Mike November 13, 2011 at 8:26 pm

            How is politics not involved with this movemnt. Didn't know you were the spokesman for occupy wallstreet/portland as well. What was the message of this group again?

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        • Greg November 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm

          JM is taking an editorial position, and in no way speaks for anyone else in Portland, unless they chime in.
          In the same way that when the Oregonian makes editorial statements, they don't represent the community.

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        • ron November 14, 2011 at 9:47 am

          The constitution allows for peaceful protest. It doesn't sound wacko to me. I guess it's only wacko if you disagree with the movement.

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      • Giuseppe Undisclosed November 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm

        The phrase "bike community" is only one more example of non-rational-pseudo-discussion technique used by ignorant (or bigoted) individuals posting noise in place of intelligence herein these pages and many other "discussion" forums.

        Over-generalization is one way to dehumanize those who one is afraid of, hence to justify further "defensive" actions against "the other". To admit that ones "opponent" is another human being capable of similar (or greater) depth of thought and therefore deserving of mutual respect and rational communication probably is frightening to those who "brand" or otherwise label everything and everybody into poorly delineated groups.

        If I am incorrect, please educate me by pointing out links to the information that I can use to expand my understanding of this issue (these issues?).

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        • middle of the road guy November 14, 2011 at 11:25 am

          Unlike "conservatives, cagers and SUV driving soccer moms"?

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  • John Lascurettes November 13, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Color me impressed. I didn't think it would end well or be effective for the bike swarm to be there. Well done.

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  • jim November 13, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I am part of the 99% who agreed that this nonsense needs to end now. People are getting hurt,robbed, 3 people dead in 2 days, costing taxpayers (me) a lot of money, health hazards, violating the rules set up by society....
    And you are making it harder for the police to do their jobs. They are out there in the middle of the night taking crap without being able to do much more than just stand there and take it, a couple of them got injured even, I guess thats what you guys call "A Victory" cival disobedance. If someone were to come into your store and act crazy doing things to make you uncomfortable, and you wanted the police to come remove them, what would you expect to happen? This is just ludacriss. The credabillity of bike portland has just sank to a new level

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    • 9watts November 13, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      "If someone were to come into your store and act crazy doing things to make you uncomfortable"

      jim,
      our society isn't a store! Of course your metaphor is apt in so far as folks are protesting exactly that misunderstanding, that sense that our country, our society has become a store, but, really.

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    • Otto November 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      How is Bike Portland responsible for anything? Jonathan has his views and the comment threads here usually represent many diiferent viewpoints, like yours. So people showed up on their bicycles last night. I thought it was good to see but it's also beside the point.

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      • Hugh Johnson November 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm

        Responsible? No. But I have the feeling Jonathan likes hitting the button, walking away, and seeing what happens.

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        • Greg November 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm

          And you don't?

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    • oliver November 14, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Again with the It's costing taxpayers 'A lot' of money.

      Compared to what exactly? How many hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money was given to wall street to destroy/for destroying the world economy?

      How many hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money was dumped into that sand pit in the gulf, filtered back to the shareholders of Halliburton, Xe, Lockheed Martin, etc and then paid back into the coffers of the GOP?

      How many hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money is given away to global corporations annually through the rigging of the American tax structure?

      Protesting all of this is the right thing to do. Supporting the protest was also the right thing to do.

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      • middle of the road guy November 14, 2011 at 11:27 am

        So that justifies things?????

        Someone else did worse than I so what I did MUST be okay?

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        • 9watts November 14, 2011 at 11:30 am

          "Someone else did worse than I so what I did MUST be okay?"
          I didn't read anyone saying that. Maybe read a bit more carefully next time.

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  • wsbob November 13, 2011 at 11:38 am

    About 2:30-3:30 am, I heard from its newscasters and saw from KPTV 12's overhead camera position, the group of people riding bikes on around the park, described to number about 25 people. So many people were lingering on, standing around, deciding not to clear the area, it probably didn't matter at all that a relatively small number of people on bikes were mixed with everyone else going on.

    This morning, I'm just now reading some stories over at O-live, one of which reports that many people apparently have not packed up and hauled off their own tents, tarpaulins and other gear, obliging city employees to do this for them. This most likely means all of this gear will be tossed into dumpsters, and hauled away to the landfill at great expense and waste.

    OP's unwillingness to take full responsibility for even the relatively simple task of cleaning up after itself is very poor legacy to have left to the collective public memory. With the impression made by this shedding of responsibility, if there ever is a 'next time', the public in future, may not be nearly as supportive of a sustained presence on the public commons, as it has been this time, of the OP effort in Chapman and Lownsdale parks or any other park in Portland.

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    • Hugh Johnson November 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      As explained to me by one OP supporter, it's about sticking it to the evil corporations, banks, and the "pigs". I guess it's mission accomplished?

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      • Dave Cary November 14, 2011 at 7:20 am

        Are the evil corporations, banks and the pigs going to clean up the mess? No, it's you, me and the rest of the taxpayers.

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    • are November 13, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      is OP being permitted to clean up? or are the park blocks closed? maybe if you set a deadline a little farther back than three days you could get a better result. as it played out, the withdrawal was somewhat orderly, only a dozen or so arrests, and no one got hurt, which i think is something of an achievement under the circumstances.

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      • wsbob November 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm

        "....is OP being permitted to clean up? ..." are

        OP had the time to clean up, which it wasted, just like it allowed so many usable materials that were brought in, to be thrown away into the dumpsters, likely to be turned into trash rather than recycled.

        All of the bystanders that assembled before 12:01am Sunday, could have lent a hand in helping to clean up. Instead of standing around self congratulating themselves about whatever, they could have pitched in, leaving the park spotless by the time the sun rose.

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        • 9watts November 13, 2011 at 5:24 pm

          wsbob,

          so this is all a janitorial matter, then? I wonder how it was possible for this movement to sweep (pun intended) the country as few if any have in my lifetime if the most important thing 'we' can think of to comment on is the state of the park this afternoon. Come on.
          Cleaning up is important, but surely you can appreciate that people in the parks and streets last night and for the weeks prior take different views of the eviction deadline's importance/validity/legality in the face of the not-yet-resolved injustices that motivate the occupy movement.

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          • wsbob November 13, 2011 at 5:54 pm

            "...so this is all a janitorial matter, then? ..." 9watts

            It's not all a janitorial manner, and I've not said it was. Over the course of the last 5 weeks, I've posted a fair amount of comments relating to OP, some favorable, some critical.

            Being suggested by the Occupation as underlying the entire Occupation effort though, I believe is the idea that people should take responsibility for their own lives and actions in ways they can, which would seem to include cleaning up after themselves.

            Sure, I can accept that people take different views on the eviction deadline set by the city, but it doesn't make sense that such views would include carelessly allowing good re-usable materials to be hauled off as trash to the landfill.

            Steven B's s comment below doesn't ring true with what was visible on KPTV's live overhead video and what it's on-site newscasters were reporting with regards to the question of whether the parks were closed off with fences. The deadline came, and with the exception of a small area in I think Chapman Square, free access appeared to be allowed across the parks. According to stories in the O, some people were still in tents and sleeping until around 5-6am in the morning when the cops finally shook their tent and told them to pack it up or lose it.

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          • Otto November 14, 2011 at 12:24 am

            Billions looted, billions of dollars in bail out money for rich people, stagnant economy, high unemployment, debt slavery... and some people are worried about who cleans up a park? Not saying park clean up isn't important, but...

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          • wsbob November 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm

            "...and some people are worried about who cleans up a park? Not saying park clean up isn't important, but..." Otto

            What many people...people among the most important for OP to make a powerful, positive impression upon...are going to remember about OP is the mess and waste OP left in the parks.

            OP had the time to make sure the parks were cleaned up by 12:01am Sunday. It had a huge number of potential volunteers that came into the area Saturday night to see what happened. Plenty of light to work by, courtesy of the city. Instead, people stood around laughing and joking. Oh well.

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          • 9watts December 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm

            This is just a heads up for those who complained about Occupy, or about the Bike Swarm, about how much police overtime was *necessary* to deal with all this....
            Take a few minutes to read this:
            http://tinyurl.com/shocking-revelations
            and this:
            http://tinyurl.com/secret-loans

            It is hard to overstate the level of bad faith at the top, and the consequent need to put a stop to all this.

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      • Steve B November 13, 2011 at 5:17 pm

        Volunteers were cleaning the parks throughout the night up until the police cleared the parks and erected the fences.

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      • jeff November 14, 2011 at 10:42 am

        it took less than 2 days for them to move into the park. how long does it take to take down a tent, a couple of tarps, and clean up after yourself? I moved into my current house in about 2 days. I can pack a backpack in about 10 minutes. it wasn't cleaned up because they didn' t feel it was necessary to take responsibility for their actions and waste. what a lovely 'community'.

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    • BURR November 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      OP wasn't able to clean the parks themselves because the police fenced the parks off and wouldn't let anyone back in.

      I'm pretty sure if they had been allowed to help there would have been people willing to pitch in.

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      • wsbob November 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm

        Be specific: Which parts of which parks are you saying the police fenced off, and at what times of the day are you saying they did so? What if any materials in what locations were remaining in the parks, when you say fences went up?

        The facts seem to be that through 12:01 this morning most of the area of the two parks were open to anyone choosing to walk through them, with the possible exception being a smaller area of Chapman square...guessing the NW corner of that square, and not until around 1:30 this afternoon.

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  • hank November 13, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    third and madison made the night for me, when the police lines moved and we rolled through the cheers of the crowd made me shiver what a great night.

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  • Betsy November 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    Video from 3rd and Madison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7weHVM2w1G4

    About 30 cyclists still riding well after 5am

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  • spare_wheel November 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    a social media presence would be useful for calling up another "swarm" when and if its needed.

    its amusing to see "naysayers", who do not even live in PDX, repeat baseless dirty f****** hippy smears. if anything, occupy portland has made me support this type of non-violent protest all the more. i believe 2012 is going to be "interesting"...to say the least.

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  • esther c November 13, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I didn't not make it downtown but was glued to my TV watching the all night live coverage. I was so proud of Portland last night. So proud of the protesters and how they kept everyone cool. And yes, proud of Portland police who were nothing like Oakland, Berkeley or NYC.

    The bike swarm was a beautiful idea and so very Portland. I think cyclists are so representative of the Portland zeitgeist that the swarm really demonstrated that Portland is behind the Occupy movement.

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  • Steve B November 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    So incredibly proud of the bike swarm and those who stood with us through the morning. This is how we do it in Portland, nice work everyone.

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  • borgbike November 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I heard a number of first-hand accounts that convince me that the camping-aspect of OP took too much of a sour turn. However I hope that this is just the end of Act I of a larger Occupy movement.

    Thank you to the vigilant bicycle heros!

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  • dmc November 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    It was a lot of fun. I road around the parks for several hours. I could have done it all night but I needed to save some energy for my rainy bike ride back up to Washington.

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  • Ted Buehler November 13, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Nice work, bicyclists.

    And, thanks for the excellent coverage, Jonathan.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Andrew Holtz November 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    It seems like the attention to a "bike brigade" at Occupy Portland plays into the stereotypes held by those who pigeonhole people who ride bikes as leftist, liberal or whatever other labels they choose.

    The more that some people perceive support for bicycle infrastructure as a partisan issue, the more it will feed the irrational attacks on transportation funding pushed by those who want to appeal to a "conservative" base. And that just makes it harder to advance the argument that making communities friendlier to bicycle use is something that's good for everyone, not just a fringe.

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    • are November 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm

      again with the don't do anything "they" won't like argument. slave mentality.

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      • Kevin November 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm

        I believe Andrew is just pointing out that taking a political stance has political consequences.

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        • are November 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm

          one hopes so, yes

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    • Steve B November 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      Bicycling is becoming so normal in this town that it pretty much shows up everywhere nowadays. We should be proud of what it means to reach that critical mass, and rejoice that an economic justice movement has included bicycles so integrally.

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    • 9watts November 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm

      the people you describe who hold such narrow, preconceived, self-fulfilling views of local politics are going to see what they want to see. That is no reason not to show up on a bike or a crocodile (if you feel like supporting the folks down there).

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    • BURR November 13, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      obviously, from the range of comments here, that stereotype isn't valid at all, and if you still doubt me, just check out the Politics and Religion section over at BikeForums.net.

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    • Jonah November 13, 2011 at 11:01 pm

      The Occupy movement is trying to show that inequity and greed are bad for everyone, so it would actually make more sense that those who cycle would support the betterment of all humans, despite political convictions.

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    • Otto November 14, 2011 at 12:11 am

      Cops were on bikes too.

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      • roger noehren November 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm

        and they were using them inappropriately as ad hoc barricade/shields, attempting to push protestors back onto the sidewalk on the Chapman Park side of Third.
        I joined the "bike swarm", which I came across as I rode the perimeter after coming upon the Klieg-lit party as I was riding down Madison from the film center. It was fun weaving around the cars cruising around the parks and being waved through red lights by police (including Chief Reese for awhile). Very high energy all around. I moved to the side when the crowd on third became too thick to continue riding and witnessed the melee around 3am, followed by the retreat of the riot cops.
        I stood by a young woman who led a chant "Take off your riot gear. I don't see no riot here".
        Thanks for the excellent coverage Jonathan.

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        • wsbob November 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm

          "...and they were using them inappropriately as ad hoc barricade/shields, attempting to push protestors back onto the sidewalk on the Chapman Park side of Third. ..." roger noehren

          There's nothing inappropriate about bike cops using their bikes as equipment to get people to peaceably do something they were supposed to have done hours previously, which was to leave the parks. Bikes as barricades and shields seem a whole lot more peaceful than swinging batons, tazers and tear gas.

          The bunch of 50 or so people that basically compelled officers to 'arrest' them was the silly self-inflicted sucker punch OP in the park's stragglers gave themselves.

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          • roger noehren November 16, 2011 at 12:01 am

            I used the term in the context of being a lover of bicycles on a blog which covers news and issues concerning bicycles and people who ride them.

            The article describes how the "bike swarm" added a joyful element to the standoff, mitigating the confrontation.

            I was specifically responding to "Otto" 's comment that "cops were on bikes too".

            Well, they had bikes as part of their arsenal, but they weren't riding them.

            As usual, most of the comments on this article stray far from its subject matter (or bicycles & cycling for that matter). Whether the occupiers or the police behaved appropriately etc isn't really relevant.

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          • wsbob November 16, 2011 at 12:54 am

            "...Well, they had bikes as part of their arsenal, but they weren't riding them. ..." roger noehren

            Bike cops do ride their bikes. I fully believe cops that had them rode the bikes from the police station to the parks. Cops aren't the only people that improvise the use of bikes for jobs other than riding. Just turns out that for a bike cop, a bike can sometimes serve rather well as a barricade or a shield...even better maybe, in some cases than the latter two items.

            Bike cops using bikes as a gentle means of encouraging people to move along seems a whole lot less negative than does a row of riot shields or batons.

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  • Egropp November 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Cycling, communicating, and voting are more effective than camping.

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    • are November 13, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      how about cycling, communicating, voting _and_ camping?

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      • Otto November 14, 2011 at 12:13 am

        I'm surprised nobody has indicted the "camping community" yet.

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      • jeff November 14, 2011 at 10:44 am

        camping did nothing but destroy an otherwise lovely park in downtown. camping in fact probably turned a greater number of supporters against the movement.

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        • Daniel R. Miller November 14, 2011 at 11:42 pm

          it's absurd hyperbole to say that the parks were destroyed. So they need to be re-seeded with grass seed. Big deal.

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  • Hart Noecker November 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    To those who think cycling has no place in the Occupy movement or vice versa, maybe Portland isn't the right city for you. We have a long, proud history of civil disobedience against injustice and last nights action was part of this history.

    As the Community Cycling Center's motto so eloquently states: The bicycle is a tool of empowerment and a vehicle for social change.

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    • Mike November 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm

      This town is turning me into a Republican. Is it ok to ride a bike just for fun or is that not portland enough?

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      • Hart Noecker November 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm

        If seeing the people of Portland exercising their freedom of speech makes you so offended that you want to join a political party that works to lower wages, ship jobs overseas, destroy unions, privatize social security, give tax cuts to billionaires and erase environmental protections then you already ARE a republican.

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      • matt picio November 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm

        It's always been ok in this town to ride a bike just for fun - why should that invalidate those who *want* to make it a political/social statement? To each their own...

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      • middle of the road guy November 14, 2011 at 11:31 am

        Glad someone said it.

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    • woogie November 14, 2011 at 6:32 am

      This is just a closed minded view as any other.

      I don't agree with the zoo bombers, I think tall bikes on the road are ridiculous, and many other riders feel the same way.

      The cycling community is not one unified group, even when it comes to cycling, let alone any other political issue.

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      • middle of the road guy November 14, 2011 at 11:31 am

        woogie, I hope you extend the same courtesy to other groups, like conservatives, sport car owners and Christians.

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        • meh November 15, 2011 at 6:53 am

          I prefer to judge people on their actions and individual qualities rather than some arbitrary grouping.

          I have conservative friends who I may or may not disagree with on issues but being conservative doesn't make someone a horrible person any more than being liberal does.

          Pretty much the same thing with sports car drivers and Christians.

          Those who become zealots, for any cause, that can't live their lives without attempting to convert others to their ways, I cannot abide by.

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  • John November 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Very proud of you swarmers! Watched the live feed from overseas. Wish I could have been there!

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  • captainkarma November 13, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I am so proud of:

    * The Portland Occupiers

    * Those THOUSANDS who chose to not or could not actually actively participate, but came down last night in solidarity.

    * The THOUSANDS who watched reality TV (Livestream) instead of sucking up the BS on main-stream-media

    * JM, who had the courage of his convictions to not only appropriately cover the movement here, but put his self on the line and pedal ALL NIGHT! Awesome.

    I'm going out to buy a City of Portland flag, which does not represent Sam, Commissioner Nicky the Fish etc, but those citizens that speak actual truth to power. Hell ya.

    I understand the naysaying nabobs of negativity here on BP and in the public in general. They lap up the crap that the old media puts out and are scared, really scared.

    They have become....comfortably numb.

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    • Mike November 14, 2011 at 7:06 am

      I think it's quite odd that people continue to support the people that were camping illegally. Where's the message in all of this? Just because people wanted this mess to go away doesn't mean they don't support the occupy wallstreet agenda. OP was not sustainable and needed to end. Young goofballs with nothing but idealism aren't the people I want representing the supposed 99%. I am just happy you seem to have it all figured out and are smarter than the general public.

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  • pdxpaul November 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Glad this ended without major violence.

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  • Jonah November 13, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    I rode for most of the night with the bike block, starting at 11.00 when there were just a few of us and seeing the crowd grow to its critical mass. Calling ourselves peace machines was a great way to embody the cyclist presence all night. We were there to keep things light, happy and non-violent by having fun and riding our bikes (So yes, you can just ride your bike for fun in this town). Even though I may be happy that we have a chance to start fresh without the problems of the old camp, I felt it was important to be down there to both show support for the movement as a whole and to ensure that things remained peaceful and non-violent. I especially loved a Portland officer who was directing traffic say "Welcome to Portland" to a passing vehicle as we were swarming around it on all sides.

    Of course, on my ride home tonight, the bridges were back to their previous numbers of homeless campers.

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  • Periodic Visitor November 13, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Did the cyclists help clean up the litter, hypodermic needles, and human waste left behind by the occupiers? No, you say? Beneath them?

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  • Harvey November 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Wow, just noticed JMaus is making money off of this advertiser:

    Made-in-China.com - connecting global bicycle buyers with certified China suppliers of dirt bikes, folding bikes as well as kids bikes etc.

    On the right side in the vertical ad-bar.

    Really JM? Seems kind of antithetical to all of this pro-occupy portland coverage you have been putting out there.

    Ever been to China and see how they rape their workers rights and working conditions JM? No? I have and it is sick.

    So you make money off the protests and make money off of one of the problems that have created the protests.

    Hmmmmm. Seems kind of hypocritical....

    Thoughts?

    Recommended Thumb up 7

    • meh November 14, 2011 at 6:34 am

      Because it's the lazy way to make revenue, let a service dump ads on your website, rather than taking the time and effort to choose ads that you would consider ethically and politically aligned with your editorial viewpoint.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

    • middle of the road guy November 14, 2011 at 11:35 am

      making money is hypocritical?

      A journalist is supposed to be objective and I think JM does a decent job of that. Personally, I'd like to see more comments from conservatives just to have a more varied debate.

      But how it is hypocritical to make money off of a story if one's reporting on the story is objective?

      JM has no responsibility (personal, professional or moral) to support OP. Your suggestion that he does is bigoted on your own part.

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  • Paycheck2paycheck November 14, 2011 at 12:27 am

    Did I miss something? What was the point of all of this again? And riding bicycles around a potential riot? Wow, what a great show of unity with this directionless mob. Kind of makes sense though. People often mistake protesting for action. Anyone can protest and complain. Children do it all the time. Camping and defending a park or a street has absolutely nothing to do with what you all started this "movement" for. How about some actual creative and constructive work to keep the cause's positive public attention and interest? A great example is the social network call to move bank accounts to smaller locally owned banks and credit unions. And it worked! Last I heard the banks listened. BofA dropped their $5 fee and others did not impose one. That action did not require destruction of public property, breaking the law, overworking public services or costing the taxpayers big money. As it stands, I am afraid of what occupy has become. Disregarding the law, looking for a fight and seeming to lack leadership and direction. Not to mention costing the Portland taxpayers an absolute fortune. Money that could have been used to actually make a difference.

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  • casual cyclist November 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

    When KATU interviewed the "Swarm" a pleasant looking young woman, appearing to speak for them, said the mission of Swarm was to disrupt the cops trying to get at the protesters. She also stated that "Cycling is and inherent form of activism"

    **PORTION OF COMMENT DELETED -- Please keep it clean. Thanks- JM***

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

      casual cyclist,

      Not sure what your point is. Seriously. Just because the woman was riding in the bike group doesn't mean she represents anyone but herself. Please understand that's it is possible for multiple people to join the same event without all of those people thinking exactly alike about the event.

      Why can't this blog/forum hold many different views by many different people?

      If you were at the bike ride you would realize that there was absolute respect for the police by those of us on bikes. Or, speaking for myself only, I had no intention of making the police's intentions more difficult. I was there to show the city that I support the message of Occupy Portland/OWS and to also show that bicycles are fun to ride and can be a creative way to engage with civic involvement.

      Thanks for all your comments. Please continue to be respectful of one another.

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      • Dude November 14, 2011 at 10:28 am

        Jonathan, Why is it OK for some people to use insults like "clueless twit" but you censor others for the same thing? I really don't get it.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2011 at 10:31 am

          "Jonathan, Why is it OK for some people to use insults like "clueless twit" but you censor others for the same thing? I really don't get it.

          Dude,

          It's not! That's why I just deleted it. Until I hire a comment moderator, I try to do it myself as best as I can... Note that I've added a line above start of comments telling folks to contact me w/ anything offensive. Cheers.

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          • 9watts November 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm

            "It was the stated mission of Swarm to disrupt police efforts regarding Occupy. You acknowlege this. That sounds like interferring with police activity and would be illegal."
            casual cyclist,
            I wonder how you know that the police are the ones acting legally. Here's a piece worth reading on The First Amendment and the Obligation to Peacefully Disrupt in a Free Society by Naomi Wolf:

            http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article29490.htm#.TqSEL0rAc9s.email

            "Some kinds of disruption in a free republic are not "optional extras" if the First Amendment governs the land, as it does ours, and are certainly not subject to the whims of mayors or local police, or even DHS."

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      • casual cyclist November 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm

        Jonathan, I appologise for my insult about the woman who's remarks I disagreed with. That was my first post on your site and I want to be respectful of your forum.

        I am sorry I didn't articulate my point better so you could understand it. I was simply try to say that I think many of us cycle for the enjoyment of cycling and nothing else. I am not trying to make a statement about myself, my politics, or my community.

        It was the stated mission of Swarm to disrupt police efforts regarding Occupy. You acknowlege this.

        That sounds like interferring with police activity and would be illegal. Thankfully, police were not worried about arresting people Sunday morning for such things.

        I worry that Swarm gives people who are already hostile towards cyclists, yet another reason.

        Again, my appologies for my disrespect earlier.

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  • Dave Cary November 14, 2011 at 8:19 am

    That's the problem with someone with Jonathan's influence promoting this swarm with exactly that kind of mission. The bicycling "community" (I guess that's all of us who ride) deserves another look at this by Jonathan and possibly an apology for suggesting that we interfere with the police. That is not who most of us are. Jonathan, you are not just another voice deserving to be heard; you carry weight with us the cyclists and with the power structure of the City. We deserve your better side.

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    • middle of the road guy November 14, 2011 at 11:37 am

      Dave,

      the only influence he has is that which you think he has.

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  • chris November 14, 2011 at 8:43 am

    What exactly does "Occupy Portland" have to do with bicycling? THIS transportational cyclist was rooting for the cops in favor of the eviction. Why is the choice to ride a bicycle seen as an indicator of of a specific political opinion in this town? Why is it expected by both motorists and other cyclists that I hold left-wing views just because of my choice of transport?

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    • Vince November 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

      Despite what has been said, those riding did not hope to speak for the entire "bike community." This is complete nonsense. It was a group of enthusiastic cyclists supporting a movement. I'm baffled--and frankly, very disappointed-- that other cyclists can be offended by this.

      The irony in all this: those criticizing the swarm are actually the ones turning their bike into a partisan tool.

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    • middle of the road guy November 14, 2011 at 11:41 am

      chris, I totally hear what you are saying.

      I have several conservative friends who are cyclists.....so much so that I am not totally comfortable with all their views. Still good people.

      I hate the assumption (usually by other cyclists)that anyone on two wheels is also lefty.

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    • roger noehren November 14, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      Like just about everyone who reads & comments on bikeportland, the bicycle is my chosen mode of getting places, exploring, recreation, exercise, being green, saving money...for some of us it is also a means of earning a living, shopping, vacationing, socializing, making a political statement, moving households, garage saling, "biking about architecture", living car free, appreciation as sculpture and mechanical innovation, reading & collecting books about, collecting photos, artwork, memorabilia of and articles about, armchair travel...a lot of people like to race, participate in Critical Mass rides, zoo-bomb, play bike-polo & joust, go on scavenger hunts or pub crawls, go bird watching by bike, be fashionable, make films or have erotic fantasies about or ride "naked", the whole Pedalpalooza calendar of themed rides...people use bikes to generate electricity, make smoothies, run a film projector, grind flour, raise funds for charity, lose weight, relieve boredom, get out of the house...did I mention fun? Kids love them, so do seniors and people who might not otherwise be able to get around...like the Occupy Movement, "bike culture" is (almost) all embracing - I even have a book about bikes in wartime... Whatever gets your wheels rolling....

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Alison November 14, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      Thank you Chris--this needed to be said. My bike is my chosen form of transportation to and from work--it's NOT a political statement.

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  • sw resident November 14, 2011 at 8:59 am

    The parks are an environmental disaster. The destruction and obvious long-term damage are an embarrassment to a city where at least a plurality would consider themselves to be environmentalists to one degree or another.
    If you supported the occupation of Lownsdale and Chapman you have a moral and/or ethical obligation to contribute to the restoration of them. Commissioner Fish will be detailing this week how you can contribute monetarily or through sweat equity to the restoration effort.

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    • 9watts November 14, 2011 at 9:11 am

      "The parks are an environmental disaster. "

      Perhaps you could try to keep this in perspective?
      Did you read Oliver's comment above (8:54am this morning)?
      A muddy park? Give me a break. How about fracking? oil wars? mountain top removal? and all the other environmental disasters that our current high-consumption lifestyle require?

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      • sw resident November 14, 2011 at 9:51 am

        Yes I did read Oliver's comment and it too sorely misses the mark. The attitudes exhibited by the abusers of the financial system are similar to yours and Oliver's, "what's a 1% rise in US unemployment? after all, there are more unemployed people in the Sudan. it's no big deal that I profited off sub-prime mortgages, after all lots of people made more money off those people than I did. so what if large segments of the middle class lost most of their retirement funds, most people in the world will never have the opportunity to retire at all" and so on.

        You are comparing apples to oranges and obfuscating the issue to shirk responsibility. Environmentalism is holistic. Would you excuse clear-cutting Forest Park because, "in perspective", it doesn't compare to the deforestation of the Amazon? The presence of other environmental problems in the world doesn't mean that the ones in our own backyard are somehow less important, should be overlooked, excused on a scale of magnitude, or considered to be acceptable collateral damage in the exercise of a political tactic (occupation). Not everyone who wants to correct the rampant abuses of our political and financial system believes that occupation is the most effectiveness means of doing so.

        Perhaps you are not familiar with the facts of the damage so far and are speaking from a position of ignorance. This is not just a "muddy park." Here is a short list of the problems that the park restoration faces that we already know about: Sharps and human waste on and in the ground which constitute bio hazards, spilled generator fuel that will require specialized cleanup, damaged roots and tree trunks, broken branches and trampled foliage. Tests of soil samples and surveys by arborists will be conducted this week and then we will start to get a larger idea of the extent of the damage. Environmental damage can sometimes take years to become fully apparent. Simply putting down some grass sod will not solve this problem.

        If you haven't already, you should go down to the parks and look at them with an objective and critical eye.

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        • 9watts November 14, 2011 at 10:03 am

          "Would you excuse clear-cutting Forest Park because, 'in perspective', it doesn't compare to the deforestation of the Amazon?"

          yes--if for some reason the former were offered up as a sacrifice that would guarantee preservation of the latter. But that is of course ridiculous, as is your failure to note the discrepant scales of these sundry 'environmental disasters' as you think of them.

          Occupy Portland's political objective as I understand it is to interfere with business-as-usual, upset the apple cart of inequality and corporate control of our hierarchical politics.... To the extent that a muddy park with broken tree branches is the unfortunate byproduct I am able and willing to distinguish this from, say, hydraulic fracking or clearcutting the Amazon, both of which have to do with overconsumption and corporate malfeasance, the very things Occupy Portland (as I understand it) are protesting.

          I realize that we come at this from different perspectives, and have no illusions that I or anyone else will persuade you that the 'environmental disasters' under discussion differ in scale (temporal, spatial), the possibility of remediation (cost, time), psychic damage, etc.

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        • wsbob November 14, 2011 at 10:35 am

          "...Perhaps you are not familiar with the facts of the damage so far and are speaking from a position of ignorance. This is not just a "muddy park." Here is a short list of the problems that the park restoration faces that we already know about: Sharps and human waste on and in the ground which constitute bio hazards, spilled generator fuel that will require specialized cleanup, damaged roots and tree trunks, broken branches and trampled foliage. Tests of soil samples and surveys by arborists will be conducted this week and then we will start to get a larger idea of the extent of the damage. Environmental damage can sometimes take years to become fully apparent. Simply putting down some grass sod will not solve this problem. ..." sw resident

          sw resident...with all due respect, I'm inclined to think at this point that your conclusions about damage to the park are way overblown.

          Certainly from a casual, visual survey of the parks, there isn't widespread devastation on the order you're suggesting. What I other people logically know from from walking through the parks and reading in the news...which sounds to be the same sources of information you're drawing from....is that the parks haven't been destroyed.

          In a few places, where small portable generators were used, there may have been small amounts of diesel or gas spilled. Same with so called 'sharps'...used hypodermic needles...there may be a few of them lying about in select places in the park, but I doubt there will be many, because heroin use did by no means appear to be prevalent in the parks.

          I think the first week of the occupation, I saw one...'one' smaller branch broken from tree in two parks filled with trees. A typical Oregon winter likely brings down far more in this city's park.

          The park is going to need turf grass replanted. That's really about it.

          I'd be the last one to underscore some of the alarming things that went on in certain small quarters of the parks during Occupation Portland in Lownsdale-Chapman, but carelessly leading people, as your comments uncorrected could could have the effect of doing, to accept the notion that the parks have been left in the state of some sort of federal disaster zone does nobody any favors.

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          • Kristen November 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

            Even small amounts of spilled diesel fuel or fuel oil can contaminate large swathes of dirt. It seeps down through the layers.

            Maybe you are not familiar with what it takes to clean up even a small amount of spilled diesel or fuel oil. I know, and I know exactly how much it costs.

            As the dirt is carefully removed, each layer revealed must be tested for the presence of fuel oil/diesel fuel. This process continues until clean dirt is reached. The excavation happens in all directions outward from the spill.

            If the spill in the park is small and easily removed, it will only cost taxpayers several thousand dollars. If it's seeped in far enough, it could end up costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars-- and that doesn't include replacing the contaminated soil with uncontaminated soil.

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          • wsbob November 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm

            hey Kristen...for sure, I wouldn't dismiss lightly, harmful effects of fuel used to power portable generators at OP spilled on the turf bed. Seriously though, unless there was some kind of major negligence or mishap in fueling generators at the parks, I don't see that there will have been much fuel spilled.

            Could have happened though...someone tipping over the fuel can...over-filling the tank...leaky fuel line. Barring something like this having happened, if people were careful and didn't make mistakes, I'd be surprised if even a gallon of fuel over all three generator locations was spilled.

            When I walked through the parks, I saw one generator going on the southernmost border of the north park. Saw another small generator east-side that wasn't actually operating when I was there. Saw in news pictures, another bigger generator used, I think...in the kitchen area.

            Somebody from parks gets quoted in the paper speaking very generally of fuel spill and it seems speculation about amounts of possible labor and cleanup costs soars. If fuel spill clean-up turns out to be a significant issue in the restoration of the parks, the details of the cleanup should be made available to the public to take a look at.

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        • davemess November 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm

          I always have to chuckle to myself when I hear Portlanders complaining about things like "trampled foliage". Have you lived here for more than a year? You know that with the amount of rain we get things tend to grow back quite heartily here.
          And let's remember that we're talking about a middle of downtown urban park. I'm all for green spaces, but this is not the lynch pin that the entire PNW ecosystem is relying on.

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          • casual cyclist November 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

            Many people do not know that it is the compaction of soil at the base level that starves the tree of oxygen and kills it. Trees large and small are subject to this.

            If your point is that all these wonderful century old trees can die b/c they are not "lynch pins of the ecosystem" then I do not share your view.

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          • 9watts November 14, 2011 at 4:41 pm

            casual cyclist
            Many people do not know that it is the compaction of soil at the base level that starves the tree of oxygen and kills it. Trees large and small are subject to this.
            People large and small are also subject to this. Don't you get it? Corporations are taking away my (and your) oxygen too.

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    • Jonah November 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm

      Ecologically speaking, the park was already an environmental disaster prior to the occupation. Lawns do not supply the habitat needed to sustain an ecosystem and are really just a monoculture that deplete the soil of all nutrients. I helped create a committee to allow for an option with the finance committee to direct funds, resources and labor towards the restoration of the park. However, I took a hard-line environmentalist stance in saying that the park needed a greater degree of biodiversity through a more extensive integration of native plants into the previous ecologically dead state of the park. In our consultation with experts in both city and non-profit organizations (Including Friends of Trees), we were actually told that our laying down of straw to prevent mud build-up also helped build healthier humus in the soil that helped balance the pH of the soil to accommodate the needs of the trees in the park. The breaking down of the straw also creates a nutrient source for beneficial bacteria and mycelium to take root in the soil, potentially helping prevent further erosion and filtering out toxins from any potential human or mechanical waste.

      It is important to note, however, that any fuel spilled from generators are probably better-off spilling into the park, where it can be filtered. In contrast, the thousands of cars driving around and through the squares every day leak much higher levels of fuel, oil and other far-more toxic chemicals like anti-freeze and flame retardants onto the street, where it hits a hard surface and runs straight into the storm drains, where it will eventually end up in our rivers and the food chain through biomagnification.

      It is also important to note that our committee has yet to hear from the city for any help in the restoration of the park. Also, when we tried to contact city officials who would be able to best help us create a low-impact environment for the parks, many refused to talk to us on the grounds that they could not help us as a political organization. So despite Occupy Portland attempting to work with the city, our efforts to help the city was met with resistance every step of the way.

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      • 9watts November 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm

        Thanks, Jonah.
        One of the many reasons to be proud of the Occupy efforts. Good work!

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      • wsbob November 14, 2011 at 1:05 pm

        "...I helped create a committee..." Jonah

        I suspect you're saying the committee you helped create was in association with OP, but it would probably help if you could state that clearly.

        I agree with the fact the turf grass isn't a particularly great ecosystem. Turf grass is a practical public area treatment...easier to walk on, sit on, have picnics on, rake leaves out of. Turf grass is bad for all the nasty chemicals that have to be applied to it to keep it looking green and free of 'weeds'. It seems doubtful though, that the city could in a practical way, turn the ground under all those elm trees into a natural environment that would be compatible with conditions there.

        Although...it should be noted that up in the South Park Blocks in the general area nea the art museum, city landscape personnel this year have been experimenting with some native plantings in the center raised beds.

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    • JRB November 15, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      Fuel spills are a concern, but I think there are some overblown comments here that it would cost tens of thousands of dollars to remediate them. Perhaps if hundred of gallons were spilled. As far the damage to the grass etc. anyone take a look at waterfront park after any one of the many festivals held there during the year?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Message to everyone: I love being able to host this discussion and I believe it's very important that it stays open and welcoming to as many views as possible. Please resist getting personal with or name-calling your fellow community members. One of the reasons we're in this mess as a country to begin with is because many people have lost the ability to have civil disagreements with each other. Let's not go there. Let's do it better.

    Thank you.

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    • Dan Kaufman November 14, 2011 at 10:21 am

      Here, here, Jonathan.

      We must acknowledge that both individualism and community have merit. I happen to think that the bicycle as a tool and a metaphor represents both very well.

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  • Jonathan November 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Thank you to all the people that swarmed Sat night/ Sun morning. I was there from 10pm - 5am and y'all definitely gave a boost and added some fun to what was tense at times. bikes. bikes. BIKES!

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  • Jim F November 14, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Protesting with an objective is great. Love it. But this whole Occupy thing is really just a bunch of angry people throwing a temper tantrum. I hope it makes you feel better because it has achieved absolutely nothing.

    Embarassing to have cylists made a part of it whith the silly "swarm." But in a way the swarm was a symbol of the Occupy movement as a whole -- bunch of people going around in a circle, getting nowhere.

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    • Dan Kaufman November 14, 2011 at 10:26 am

      Says you, Jim.

      I'd say millions of dollars being transferred from too-big-too-fail banks to Credit Unions and Colin Powell talking about the wealth gap on CNN amounts to something.

      And guess, what Jim? This is only the beginning so you might as well help shape the conversation rather than trying to dispose of it.

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  • mikeybikey November 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I was at the protest all night but not part of the bike brigade. the bike brigade was awesome. it was great that there were so many bikes front and center both physically and symbolically. i heard many people express a very similar sentiment. thanks to dan for organizing and all who participated.

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  • j Jones November 14, 2011 at 10:29 am

    YOU happen to think? So YOU influenced the bike community? Step on the many to lend success to the few...if only I was a bit smarter, I'll bet there is a pattern here.

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  • esther c November 14, 2011 at 10:37 am

    The park needed to have trash picked up and now needs to be resodded or reseeded. Oh horrors.

    I wasn't there but watched all night on KGW. I saw the moments of tension at 2am when someone threw a firecracker and the cop was injured. I also saw that the people weren't tolerating that type of behavior and threw the guy out of the crowd so he could be arrested.

    The whole country now is talking about the problems of income inequity. The issues that the Occupy Movement is concerned with have been brought to the forefront of our political debate. The movement has been and continues to be successful.

    Reese and Adam's strategy of declaring a midnight deadline was pretty clever. I have to give them credit. They got everyone downtown all night long, wearing themselves out partying in the street all night. Then when they were ready to disperse the crowd it had thinned out significantly.

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  • sw resident November 14, 2011 at 11:42 am

    To all those who dispute the extent of the damage to the parks and the necessity of such, there is still a fundamental issue none of you have addressed or answered:
    Do you feel any obligation to contribute to the restoration of a public park that was damaged in the course of a political protest tactic that you approved of?

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    • wsbob November 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      "...Do you feel any obligation to contribute to the restoration of a public park that was damaged in the course of a political protest tactic that you approved of? " sw resident

      I don't find that OP or OWS was simply a political protest, though some of that characterized the effort in Chapman-Lownsdale.

      At any rate, most U.S. citizens happily honor their obligation to support expenses involved in restoring and maintaining Freedom Of Speech, which OP and its presence in the parks was indisputably an expression of.

      Do I think people involved with OP could have and should have done a better job of cleaning up after themselves? Absolutely. I'm not though, going to let the fact that they didn't do so, persuade me that we shouldn't have freedom of expression because it might mess up the turf grass.

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    • Betsy November 15, 2011 at 8:46 am

      Yup, I have contacted the Nick Fish and the Parks Bureau about donating money to the restoration. I still haven't heard back from them. My sense is that there are many people who would throw down to offset the cost of repairs, once we know how to donate and how much is needed.

      Further, my understanding is that Occupy anticipated park damage and had planned to help with restoration to the outset. Jonah's comment paints a similar picture - consultations with Friends of Trees, etc. I get that you're upset about the damage to the park, but your indignation is misplaced.

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  • Otto November 14, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    While everyone is here debating the merits of OP or who should clean up the park, our very freedom to do just that online is being jeopardized by the corporate media sponsored Protect IP act being rushed through Congress.

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  • Toby November 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    What is with all the big sticks and the face shields?

    I'm sure they would have had hemp bags and and flower bouquets if they didn't have word that some of the anarchists may have sticks with nails pounded in them and more molotov cocktails and the like.

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    • Toby November 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      Not sure why this ended up down here but it was in response to 9watts waaay up top. (the big stick/face shield was his [probably rhetorical?] question.)

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      • are November 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

        the nesting only goes three or four deep.
        i for one am skeptical that the police actually had info that "anarchists" would be carrying sticks with nails, etc. the same press release said someone was digging a bunker and fortifying it with pallets or something. have not heard anything after the fact confirming this alarmist b*llsh*t.

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        • Toby November 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

          Too true, the rumor mill tends to run pretty well with these sorts of things.

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  • Joshua November 14, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Hey Jon, do you have any more photos from that night? I hesitated to bring out my DSLR with the rain and not having any sort of protection for it. I took a few with my phone camera, but none of them really came out too well.

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  • casual cyclist November 14, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Dan Kaufman
    Says you, Jim.
    I'd say millions of dollars being transferred from too-big-too-fail banks to Credit Unions and Colin Powell talking about the wealth gap on CNN amounts to something.
    And guess, what Jim? This is only the beginning so you might as well help shape the conversation rather than trying to dispose of it.

    Recommended 3

    Jim made a point.
    You just spouted rhetoric.

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  • casual cyclist November 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    9watts

    casual cyclistMany people do not know that it is the compaction of soil at the base level that starves the tree of oxygen and kills it. Trees large and small are subject to this.People large and small are also subject to this. Don't you get it? Corporations are taking away my (and your) oxygen too.

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    OMG I get it now!

    The people are the trees and OP killed them.

    Corporations........ blah, blah, blah

    Thanks for clearing that up for me.

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    • casual cyclist November 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      I just liked the trees in those parks.

      Make me out to be the devil for caring.

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      • Hugh Johnson November 14, 2011 at 6:48 pm

        Nope. Somebody had to show those evil corporations who is boss. The trees are unfortunate collateral damage.

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        • BURR November 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm

          Give us all a break, I seriously doubt that any permanent damage has been done to the trees.

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  • katherine November 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    I was one of the many people who instigated the ride and just wanted to share the lineage with you. Thanks a million times over to Dan, Chris, Lynne, Billy, Jakob, Thomas, and everyone else who collectively led, participated and made it happen. The idea for the swarm came out of a combination of an affinity group discussion during a general assembly at the occupation---and----from an action called the Swarm at the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen Demark, led by the fusion of the Lab of Insurrectionary Imagination and Climate Camp called the Bike Bloc.

    Bike Bloc: http://www.climatecamp.org.uk/actions/copenhagen-2009/bike-bloc

    Bike Bloc Zine: http://www.climatecamp.org.uk/bbzine.pdf
    You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZtUTk6Iz2E and
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Oo6qhPLgW0

    Lab of Insurrectionary Imagination on the Bike Bloc:
    http://labofii.net/experiments/funbetweenyourlegs/

    If you want to read more about my sense of the occupation, check out this article in the Oregonian:
    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/steve_duin/index.ssf/2011/10/occupy_portland_shows_greater.html

    and maybe you would also like to have a little chuckle at this photo of me and the riot cops:
    http://photos.oregonlive.com/oregonian/2011/11/occupy_portland_final_hours_154.html

    I wish I had more time to write, analyze, and synthesize but I'm off to help print flags for N17: Occupy the Banks:
    http://www.n17pdx.org

    I'll also be giving a 15min talk on art and activism next Monday at Shattuck Hall at PSU. Email me if you are interested: katrineball@gmail.com

    Who's blocking traffic now?
    Katherine

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    • roger noehren November 16, 2011 at 12:22 am

      I thought that Steve Duin's profile of you was the best piece in the Oregonian about the occupation.

      I rode with the "swarm" for a few hours (11 - 2:30) and really enjoyed it.

      People like you nudge me towards optimism about the future of this planet.

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  • katherine November 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Jonathan---Can you send me a few of these photos a bit larger so I can use them in my talk? I need them around 1020x1280 for projection. Feel free to put your name on them. Thanks. It would mean a lot to me, bc I didn't get to take many photos bc I was biking all night. Thanks! Grazie mille!

    No need to publish this comment.

    Katherine

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    • jim November 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

      Hi Katherine-
      I was just wondering what exactly did you accomplish by riding all night? I don't imagine you had any dialog with anyone while you were riding? What is your cause? What do you want changed? Did you get that message out to anybody that night? What is your next move?

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      • Daniel R. Miller November 15, 2011 at 12:04 am

        Jim, whoever you are: are you serious? were you there? The ride itself was dialogue. However, we talked with lots of people too, if that's what you mean. Katherine herself was a model of positive communication in action. Accomplished? How about a major positive and energizing presence? That alone would be enough. I could go on, but will leave it there.

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        • jim November 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm

          I would like to know specifically what you want? Nobody seems to know. Sure there are things that bother me, but if I am going to protest, I am going to say what I want changed.

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  • john November 14, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Jonathan --- I am really disappointed that you and others "swarmed" into a dangerous situation. You all got a kick out of being the center of attention and are patting yourselves on the back for being a part of the "movement". You are just lucky you did not aggravate a very tense situation and make it worse. Either join the movement or side with the police, but don't ride through the middle of it at a critical moment ike a bunch of clowns. That's what gives bicylists a bad rep.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 14, 2011 at 9:46 pm

      John,

      Were you at the event? We weren't the center of attention and I don't recall any tense situations at all. If you were there you might have a better understanding of the context the bikes had in the event. It was extremely positive.

      Thanks for the comment.

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    • Vince November 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      ***Portion of comment deleted due to personal insult***

      . I'm beginning to think the whole lot of you angry folks are just internet prowlers, fresh on the scent of some quasi-controversial news item you can inflate into some quasi-controversial story (on a blog, a local blog). Like John M said, below: "If you were there you might have a better understanding of the event."

      And if bicyclists have developed a bad rap, I have yet to feel any real ramifications. Think of something else.

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    • are November 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm

      would it be okay to join the movement on a bike if what the movement was doing at that moment was staging a party in advance of the formal eviction? or if part of what the movement needed at that moment was a show of support and some people to observe the police conduct?

      how do you decide who is in and who is out?

      on thursday the 17th, when people are occupying banks, do only the insiders get to participate? they have asked for support and for observers who are not themselves looking to get arrested.

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  • silencekid November 15, 2011 at 12:42 am

    currently watching zucotti park suffer a similar fate to that of chapman and lownsdale squares. while the longevity of the emcampments served a very real purpose in getting occupy's message into the mainstream media, it's time to move beyond turf wars and support it's evolution into a productive political movement. i would guess that a number of us ride for a very similar reason- to enact positive change through the persistence of our personal choice. if you really care about what occupy stands for, it's time to take that same dogged dedication that you have towards bike advocacy and direct it towards keeping the movement alive. the worst thing that we could do right now is simply disappear. November 17th is the next clear opportunity to show solidarity with the cause, except that this time the energy of the people will be directed towards the ills of our financial institutions as opposed to the ordered actions of our public employees. i would argue that this event is a far better use for the power of the swarm. http://n17pdx.org/

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    • sw resident November 15, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      Warmer, warmer... pretty soon the OWS movement is going to hit upon the right target: Washington, DC.. That is where the elected representatives wrote the legislation that wasn't vetoed by the executive or overturned by the judicial branch, and that in turn made the abuses of government and finance possible. Third time's a charm I hope.

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      • Hugh Johnson November 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm

        Thats right. Maybe Occupy should be camping on Obama's porch.

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  • 9watts November 15, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Court Order Allows Protesters to Return to Zuccotti Park
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/45303217

    NY is not Portland, but still of note.

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    • wsbob November 16, 2011 at 1:07 am

      They can return to Zucotti Park, but a judge has ruled that the city and the park owner is entitled to oblige demonstrators to observe rules written to allow the park to be a safe, clean environment:

      "...Assuming arguendo, that the
      owner's maintenance ofthe space must not violate the FirstAmendment, the owner has the right to adopt reasonable rules that permit it to maintain a clean, safe, publicly accessible space consonant with the responsibility it assumed to provide public access according to law. ..." http://www.nycourts.gov/press/OWS111511.pdf

      Among other things, no tents, tarps, lying down, etc.

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  • Betsy November 15, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    You can donate money to the restoration of Chapman and Lownsdale Squares here. I'm throwing down $200.

    http://www.portlandparksfoundation.org/historic-squares

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  • BURR November 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Kristen
    Even small amounts of spilled diesel fuel or fuel oil can contaminate large swathes of dirt. It seeps down through the layers.
    Maybe you are not familiar with what it takes to clean up even a small amount of spilled diesel or fuel oil. I know, and I know exactly how much it costs.
    As the dirt is carefully removed, each layer revealed must be tested for the presence of fuel oil/diesel fuel. This process continues until clean dirt is reached. The excavation happens in all directions outward from the spill.
    If the spill in the park is small and easily removed, it will only cost taxpayers several thousand dollars. If it's seeped in far enough, it could end up costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars-- and that doesn't include replacing the contaminated soil with uncontaminated soil.
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    What you are describing is more like what happens when a large tank used for storage or dispensing fuel ruptures or leaks, and thousands of gallons of fuel are released.

    A small diesel spill will not migrate far from it's point of origin and biological activity in the soil will eventually break it down. There's no indication that fuel spills in the park were anything more than minor.

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  • BURR November 15, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    I just took a walk around both parks, the cleanup is nearing completion and the only real damage appears to be to the lawn, which will probably come back on its own come spring.

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