SW Main closure near Occupy Portland camps remains tense issue for all sides

Posted by on October 12th, 2011 at 9:31 am

The scene at SW Main between 3rd and 4th as of 8:30 this morning. (Looking west on SW Main with camps on both sides.)
(Photos © J. Maus)

SW Main Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues, which has been closed since the Occupy Portland camps went up last week, remains partially barricaded as of this morning.

The view looking east toward the Hawthorne Bridge.

Autos and buses cannot get through, but bikes are squeezing by (and are welcomed, as you can see by the signs)…

The issue of whether or not the street should be fully re-opened to all traffic has become a tense one in recent days. Mayor Adams and Portland Police Chief Mike Reese have made it clear to the public they would like to open it back up; but that they’re using “discretion” — and not the letter of the law — in making their decision.

Adams is walking a very fine line between respecting the rights of the people who are protesting, while “keeping the city moving and operating,” he told KOIN TV. Adams is also feeling continued pressure from the media and from some constituents urging him to re-open it.

Occupy Portland does not have the required city permit usually necessary to close a street.

At the General Assembly meeting of Occupy Portland last night, the issue was discussed at length. As of this morning, people have not been able to come to consensus on what should be done. Some feel that the street should be reopened, while others want to keep it closed.

The people occupying the parks on both sides of the street will discuss the issue again at a meeting tonight.

Public opinion on the matter is all over the map. Some feel like the closure of one small block of street isn’t that big of a deal, while others are angry at the closure and feel it’s unfair to allow people to close a street without the required permits.

According to a camper I talked with this morning, a group of people took down the barricades early this morning. Then someone else put them back up. When I went out this morning at around 8:30, the barricades remained and a sign on them read; “We love buses and bikes” and “Bus and bikes are methods of transportation.

It’s clearly a situation that’s changing by the minute.

Making this issue even more complicated is the fact that Lownsdale Square and Chapman Square are full of people camping as part of the protest. SW Main Street bisects the two squares and many people feel that opening it while the camps are still occupied would create a public safety hazard.

A police officer I spoke to last night said they would not feel comfortable fully re-opening the street due to the risk of collisions. To mitigate that risk, it would be necessary to move one of the camps — and that’s a potentially much bigger issue than just the street closure.

A camper told me this morning that the safety concerns are shared by many of Occupy Portland participants. He also said that, “It’s silly that we’re fighting over this when we should be spending this energy on much more important issues.”

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ED
Guest
ED

I am really tired of this holier than thou attitude from the protestors. Every quote from them is about how their issues are so important that they can’t waste their time on logistics like permits, streets, marathons. If you weren’t so busy annoying people with disruptive, unpermitted street closures, maybe they would listen to whatever your real issues are.

ron
Guest
ron

People can be inconvenienced a little bit. Maybe if more came out and demanded accountability for the bankers that caused the financial collapse and the companies who ship jobs to India, the protests would end. I think it is far more inconvenient to have 10% unemployment while the rich get richer.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Just to clarify:
“A police officer I spoke to last night said they would feel comfortable fully re-opening the street due to the risk of collisions. To mitigate that risk,…”

The second half of the sentence seems to contradict the first. Did you mean “they would not feel comfortable”?

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

My mistake Joe. It now reads “would not”. thanks.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Ok much better! Scared me for a second into thinking the police want collisions.

jeff
Guest
jeff

I support their right to protest however this street closure stuff is ridiculous.

Art Fuldodger
Guest
Art Fuldodger

i come throught there off the Hawthorne Br. at about 8:45am and the traffic seems no worse than usual. I’m glad they’re there.

NF
Guest
NF

Limited access streets are a pretty normal thing. For right now, one block of Main St is accessible by people on foot, on bikes and people taking the bus. Sounds OK to me.

Nick
Guest
Nick

A one block detour in an automobile is a trivial inconvenience. It’d be nice if a lot of other high-foot-traffic areas were closed off to autos.

Marion
Guest
Marion

I think they should be there. There are plenty of other streets that motorists or others can use. It would be nice if they let buses through. But seriously, it’s a protest let them do that and the point of a protest is to disrupt life a little bit to make a point. I like this form of disruption, it’s non-violent.

deborah
Guest
deborah

The street closure is a very small inconvienence to ensure the safety of the protest. I’m very proud of our Mayor and Police Department for being so willing to work with OccupyPortland.

Dave
Guest

I think the fact that one block of one street in our whole city being closed causes this much of an uproar is a pretty poignant display to go along with Occupy Portland – we’ve let, guess who, the automotive industry, dictate our public space (and public consciousness) so completely, and for so long, that having one block of one street closed to automobile traffic results in public outcry and political indecision and turmoil. That just speaks to how whipped we are, in my mind. This should be a non-issue.

jmak00
Guest
jmak00

This all seems so silly. First, the automobile industry didn’t dictate how Portland uses/used it’s space as one poster complains. As well, who the heck is the General Assembly of the Occupy Portland group and why are they discussing street closure status as the blog post indicates? This is a public sfty issue. The law is clear. Get the damn permit. Do not set up your little commune and then dictate to the rest of us what we can and cannot do to ensure public sfty.

TimberJoe
Guest
TimberJoe

I’m in full support of the occupation, and as others have said, it’s a minor inconvenience to those in autos to go a block around.

That being said, if a compromise could be reached like with the marathon, I think a lot of goodwill would be generated. Maybe open one side to bus and bike during rush hour, and bike + emergency vehicles at all other times?

Whatever happens, much too big of a fuss is being made over it. The closure of the Morrison bridge is a bigger deal, why are people not yelling at the county over that?. Hopefully those at City Hall keep a cool head and recognize this, and don’t bow to media and others’ desire for an artificial and unnecessary conflict.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Trimet isn’t just going to take their word that they can get through, that’s ridiculous. Several bus lines are being diverted due to the protest, and can’t access the usual SW 2nd and Main stop. Instead, the first Westside stop is now SW 4th and Jefferson, which irritates a lot of the people on the #4 I’ve ridden for the last few days. Normally I bike, but have been too sick to ride. I support Occupy Portland, but don’t think they have the right to claim that street as their private property. The street belongs to the people, not just the protestors, and the barricades need to come down.

Graham
Guest
Graham

I don’t really care at all about the cars being forced to detour; however there are several very high volume bus routes that normally go through that part of Main St. How much of a problem is this creating for Trimet and their ridership to have to reroute their buses?

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

personally I think the protesters aren’t being disruptive enough… you won’t get attention and action by being passive on the sidelines…

the next civil war will not file for permits…

once enough people fill the streets that there aren’t enough resources to deal with them THEN we will see something being done… hundreds of people camping in the city park doesn’t do a thing…

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

I think the Mayor and the police should continue to use their discretion in this situation and to not let public and media pressure force them into a decision.

Obviously, a lot of the energy around calling for it to be re-opened is based on anger at the people in the parks and not on the mobility/transportation issues.

It’s also obvious that some in the local media are just dying for controversy and some sort of showdown between City Hall/Police and the people in the park.

I’d urge the media to use the same discretion in handling this matter that our police officers have so valiantly displayed this past week.

There are perfectly good streets on either side of SW Main that remain open to autos and buses.

As for the idea of allowing buses but not cars, that’s sort of logistically ridiculous and I think that’d be too difficult to manage.

Is making sure that cars and buses can use one blockface of one street – in a city with a grid of hundreds of streets – more important than allowing people to peacefully assemble for a cause that many people in our city and around the world believe is extremely important?

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

So, drawing from comments in response to this story…the reason Main St is closed, is due to some vaguely identifies safety issues…(When people needed to cross this street prior to Occupy, collisions certainly haven’t seemed to be a problem. People wishing to cross the street from park to park should be able to wait for cars to pause and yield for pedestrians, as they always generally have.)…and for the purpose of possibly deliberately inconveniencing people as a means of somehow making a point about corporate excess?

If so, those just don’t seem like valid reasons to keep a street from fulfilling its function of enabling people to use them travel.

“…At the General Assembly meeting of Occupy Portland last night, the issue was discussed at length. …” maus/bikeportland

Those of us reading here at bikeportland, about the situation on Main St, are being told that the Occupy group, after discussing the issue at length, could not produce a more solid reason for keeping the street closed, than the vaguely described, questionable issue of safety that’s been reported here?

This kind of indulgent stagnation that’s typical of very loosely organized groups like Occupy, is part of why they’re basically ineffective in terms of realizing actual change in the structures they object to.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Corrections:

“So, drawing from comments in response to this story…the reason Main St is closed, is due to some vaguely identified safety issues…”

“…If so, those just don’t seem like valid reasons to keep a street from fulfilling its function of enabling people to use the street for the purpose of travel. …”

jon
Guest
jon

i support the occupy portland protesters but let the buses through!! its ridiculous to block the high volume bus route between the transit mall and the hawthorne bridge. i dont even see why the street needs to be closed in the first place, they are occupying the squares.

grrlpup
Guest
grrlpup

The #14 and #10 buses are unable to use their stop at 6th and Main, which is the stop closest to MAX connections. For someone with limited mobility or physical energy, this could be a big deal.

Hugh Johnson
Guest
Hugh Johnson

I don’t see the protesters being all that concerned about the handicapped.

Skid
Guest
Skid

It isn’t so much that it is “just one block” it is that it is one block 4 blocks away from the Hawthorne bridge. It is heavily traveled and there are major bus routes on it. Because downtown with one way streets a detour around this one block closure take you through 5 blocks and probaly 5 traffic signals. If this protest is supposed to be for the working class, I would think that includes people taking public transit, so I don’t understand why you would want to disrupt a bus route and possibly make someone late for work, and subject to being written up or even fired.

There is another park between Jefferson and Madison, adjacent to Chapman Square that could be occupied instead of Lownsdale Square. This simple change would keep Main Street from being blocked, Madison Street could be blocked off instead.

Randall S.
Guest
Randall S.

Yes, the protestors should have organized their protest to be less disruptive. Everyone knows that non-disruptive protests, preferably ones that are completely out of sight, are the most effective.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

That open block south of Chapman is owned by National Parks and so has different legal ramifications.

Those advocating opening Main to cars could voice their opinion at general assemblies, 7am and pm in Chapman Square. (Arrive 15 min early to learn how GA works.)

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Correction: it’s owned by GSA, not NPS, but still US gov.

BURR
Guest
BURR

Madison is the eastbound access to the Hawthorne bridge so the issues would remain the same; plus Terry Shrunk plaza (the park one block north) is federal property, not city, and it’s even muddier than the other two parks, because there is a parking garage underneath it and the drainage sucks.

some dude
Guest
some dude

The safety issues are for the kids crossing the street and for the ability to have a safe meeting spot away from the tents. The General Assembly has been organized on Main Street because it is the center of the gathering. It might be a good Idea to discuss with the unions(either Ambulances and TRi-Met, the 99%) and see what the overall agreement between them is. Thsi City says that they want the street clear but does the 99% want the street open or closed.

jeremy
Guest
jeremy

I completely support the Occupy movement, and to be honest, they could go much further in disrupting the status quo. I ride my bike (with kid on board) through the “closed” section every morning and I am always greeted with a “thank you for biking” comment from the protestors.
One irony is that some posters are frustrated by the process of the GA of Occupy (which appears to work on a consensus model of governance) which is EXACTLY the model most opposite the entities they object to–thus Occupy is ACTING according to their ideals. Yes, it would be more efficient to have a single voice make decisions for us, but then how would that work to protest the single voice (financial industry) making so many decisions for us…

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

At 8am the “we love” sign was not yet up, but I was able to ride through anyway.

I’m not convinced that the closure is justified though. As skid and jon have pointed out, the impact is not insignificant, thanks to the volume of traffic from the Hawthorne carried by this street. And this forces many people to make two extra turns; with our downtown light timing, every time you turn you have to stop for an extra light cycle.

As already pointed out the Morrison Bridge closure is indeed a far greater inconvenience (which people SHOULD be hopping mad about!) — which has greatly increased Hawthorne traffic volumes, making the SW Main closure even more problematic.

I fully support the political agenda of “Occupy”, as well as mass daytime demonstrations that temporarily close lots of streets (though sometime other than a Thursday might be nice for those of us lucky enough to still have jobs!). But this overnight camp-out thing? Ehhhhh, I’m a lot more ambivalent about that. I think it alienates a lot more of the public from the movement. But it is what it is, so I guess we’ll see how it goes.

just thinking
Guest
just thinking

It would be best to keep general traffic diverted and allow only bus and emergency vehicles. A pedstrian could become a target for “lesson teaching” as they cross the street between the two parks. All to often the “lesson” goes way too far and people lives are forever changed and almost never for the good.

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

I watched the coverage of the Salem protest on the news last night. KATU reported on one arrest, but the brief clip made me wonder if he was one of the “lesson teachers” you mention.

He drove his huge red pickup across the lawn toward the protest and was arrested when he came to stop. The news report treated it like a protester was arrested, but that seemed pretty unlikely to me.

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

I essentially agree with how things have been handled so far, but I am very troubled by setting aside normally enforced laws and community standards. Admittedly, this is a special case -and exception – but I am not at all sure what makes it special exactly.

I would be very much of a different opinion if the protestors were someone I strongly disagreed wtih. In fact I am sure a good portion ofthe protestors would be arguing the exact opposite if it was the KKK or the Westboro Baptist Church breaking the rules.

Ultimately, I think the city needs to say enough and enforce the rules. I think that is unfortunate, and it needs to be done with as much cooperation and communication as possible, but ultimately the city needs to stand up for the laws and policies the community has established.

Jon
Guest
Jon

So, what excactly are these people protesting? As far as I can tell, this is a bunch of people without anything better to do with their time. There are a lot of things that people have legitimate greviances with and are protesting in the world like repressive unelected governments, huge cuts to government services, wars, etc. It’s time to enforce the laws of our city and get these bums out of our parks.

jmak00
Guest
jmak00

Hope these “protestors” appreciate the fact that the large corporations that develop and manufacture their fancy smartphones and the banks that lend them the $$ to buy said smartphones have made it possible for them to organize their little protest event. While they shut down roads and put public sfty at risk, the 90 percent of us with jobs will continue to work to subsidize their right to protest, their ability to be unemployed without consequence, and their demands that others just give to them what they can’t otherwise get for themselves. Move the commune and let the rest of us go about our daily business

Opus the Poet
Guest

The protesters are not protesting corporations, but corporate greed. and corporations that make things that people want without overcharging them for it (and “the market” will dictate what overcharging is). They are protesting changing laws that allowed corporations to buy elections, foreclose on houses they did not have the mortgages for, and line their pockets with billions of our tax dollars from bailouts.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Have you considered the possibility that many of the protestors don’t want large corporations and their products to not exist, they just want companies where they belong? That is, making great products and OUT of politics? As in all state Corporate charters, corporations are persons for the purpose of conducting business; nowhere does the Constitution grant them the right to control the political discussion.

Don’t think the protestors who are unemployed are that way “without consequence” either. I’d bet a lot of those in the group who are unemployed have lost their houses and had trouble feeding their families. Things are pretty desperate. With 4.5M people now unemployed for over a year (4x more than any other time in 75 years), it shouldn’t be surprised that all these people with nothing to do and no prospects should start getting agitated. You want the protestors to go away? GOOD — help us institute policies that help get them back to work!

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

“Adams is also feeling continued pressure from the media”

This quote is telling. It really is the media who are confused and irate about this protest –and the comparison to their coverage of the tea party last year lays bare their biases for all to see.

At Thursday’s protest I was near where KOIN6 reporter Lisa Bailik and her cameraman were standing. There truly was a sense of panic in their reaction to the whole thing. I couldn’t help but wonder whether they’d be more comfortable in a room with millionaires and politicians in $1200 suits.

-John

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

John, which tea party rallies took place without permits? Blocked streets without permits? Occupied public parks over night illegally? What laws and ordinances were broken by any tea party rally?

I am not a Tea Party sympathiser, but facts are facts. The ‘Occupy ____” protestors refuse to cooperate with the usual procedures. They were never denied free speech. They never bothered to file forthe appropriate permits.

Why are they “special” and how are the claimed 99% right to free speech supperior to say the skin heads or the Tea Party?

John Mulvey
Guest
John Mulvey

I thought the tea party viewed themselves as the modern version of the Boston Tea Party of 1773? As far as I can recall, no one got a permit for that.

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

And the Boston tea party (1774) lead in relatively short order to a whole series of events including the Boston Massacre, hangings, ….

The TeaParty claims the name but certainly are nothing like the name sake.

It will be interesting to watch this period of history. Just judging from at least some of comments on this thread the Occupy movement has more in common with the Boston Tea Party than the “Tea Party” does.

Certainly part of the reason for the special treament Occupy is recieving is because officials believe there is a significant likelihood of large scale vandalism and violence if the protestors are pushed. There is a veiled threat in the refusal of the Occupy movement to file paperwork and obey city ordinances. As indicated by the comment Spiffy made at 10:33 above (and I know Spiffy is an agitator so not really representative) the whole point of the protest is to get big enough and out of hand enough to cause the world to notice. I don’t doubt that there are probably a significant number of Occupy protestors who think that riots and vandalism are what is called for.

jmak00
Guest
jmak00

Actually, the Occupy Portland/Wall Street crowd have nothing in common with the original tea party colonialists. Today’s “protestors” are motivated by pure selfish entitlement stoked by Obama’s and the Left’s class warfare envy rhetoric. They demand free health care, free college education, guaranteed jobs, and to have the govt seize the income of productive citizens to “redistribute” that $$ to them. They’re bums and squatters. They should grow, get jobs, and join the adult ranks.

adventure!
Guest

Actually, the Boston Massacre happened in 1770, before the Tea Party (which happened on Dec 16, 1773, not in 1774.)

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Let’s also remember that the original Tea Party was NOT, strictly speaking, a protest against taxation as their contemporary namesakes tend to believe.

It was a protest against a special tax break being given to a gigantic corporation, a special interest: the British East India Company, of which King George was a major shareholder, had been given an exemption from the tax, which threatened to allow them to take over the entire tea import market and put small American importers out of business.

At the core of almost all the issues the Occupiers are protesting is the corrupting influence of money in politics, and the special favors granted to the preferred few who contribute the most to candidates. This has always been a problem, but has gotten exponentially worse in recent years, and is a big part of why the middle class is shrinking and the economy stinks. Really, these guys have a lot more in common with the original Tea Partiers than today’s so-called Tea Partiers do.

Bruce
Guest
Bruce

Rather than spending endless keystrokes debating the temporary closure of one block to autos, why not see what you can do for these wonderful people. They’re doing what we should all be willing to do. Make them some food or donate some $’s. Standing up against corporate personhood is a noble gesture. Who gives a sh-t wether they have permits?

Rian Murnen
Guest
Rian Murnen

I cannot quite see it from my office window currently, but when I was dropping off medical supplies this morning (10/12 @ 9 AM), there was a very agitated woman “explaining” how she was frustrated with the barricades.

She was carrying one of the barricades and asserting that she was “taking it home” with her. She then marched up and out of the Lownsdale lugging the barricade with her while the medic looked on astonished.

Erik
Guest
Erik

I ride my bike though here everyday on my way to work, and I have been loveing having Main street closed to motorized traffic. It feels so much safer.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

The location at the entrance to downtown via the Hawthorne bridge helps to keep this protest visible and relevant. I wish them success and to continue their activity.

mike
Guest
mike

What percent of the people camped out don’t really care about what is being protested but rather just like the fact that there is something to protest? I rode through there today and it looked like people were waiting for Jerry Garcia to return from the dead. Not to mention the lowly anarchists waiting in the wings to pounce if the police actually perform their duties. If it were a bunch of right wingers protesting would you all have the same sympathy and would you care if they blocked the streets? Give it a while and this “movement” will cease to exist. It is easy to spend your days protesting when you don’t have a job, kids, mortgage etc.

velvetackbar
Guest
velvetackbar

that is, kinda the point: Tell you what: have the bankers repay what they stole, start taxing the wealthy to Reagan levels, and start investing in America. That will get them off the streets fast.

jenn
Guest
jenn

While I agree with the Occupy protesters across the nation I dont agree they should be granted special rights nor should they be allowed to dictate who can use the street.

I did notice a difference in traffic today. Around 8:30 3rd was pretty backed up, seemingly from people being unable to turn right at Main and having to go down to Jefferson instead. I was annoyed that the protesters seemed to think they could decide who can pass, especially as I was driving to my job where I earn money that is taxed to pay for the road and park that are being occupied.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

For the life of me I can’t understand why drivers would insist on driving on a protest-blocked street when there are perfectly good non-protest-blocked streets a block or two in either direction. Cars don’t belong on busy streets that are filled with milling people–don’t they know how dangerous it is?

Oh, wait–I guess I have that backwards. It is people (on bikes or walking) that should always go blocks out of their way to accommodate fast-moving auto traffic. Never mind then.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Not a problem that’s overly hard to deal with, to divert traffic away from a street, if there’s a good reason to divert it away from the street. The Occupy people have not shown they have a good reason to divert traffic away from the street and keep the street blocked any longer.

If the Occupy people are concerned about kids, or people in general, crossing the street, certainly people participating in the event could put some time in as crossing guards. The parks themselves represent hundreds of square feet of land…plenty of room to assemble… so it really doesn’t fly for the ‘general assembly’ to argue that..if they have been…they need the street for assembly purposes.

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

I think you are right. The protestors don’t need to the street close and they know it. They want to close the street because the want everyone to know that they are protesting, and it’ easy to ignore them when they are standing around in the park. They get much more attention for blocking traffic. Safety, although perhaps a valid concern, is really secondary but is a better talking point that “blocking traffic will get us noticed more.”

Fix On Your Bike
Guest

You’re not a god Maus.. Not at all.
~E.C.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
My mistake Joe. It now reads “would not”. thanks.
Recommended 0

jmak00
Guest
jmak00

Who knows what these people are protesting…some say corporate greed (whatever that is), others demand free health care, still others demanding free college, and more wanting to confiscate more from the haves to simply have handed over to others. It’s incoherent. As for corporate greed…what is that? Aren’t corporatioins allowed to sell their products for whatever price people will buy them? You have a choice not to buy you know. Just like you had a choice not to take an interest-only loan for a house that cost seven times your annual income. Corporations are not to blame. Personal decisonmaking is. Like I said…it always comes back to selfishness. These people made bad decisions and now demand that the rest of us clean up their mess. Just like they expect us to clean up these parks when they’re done…

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

jmak00,

I know what we’re protesting.. We’re protesting a government that is completely broken and that is a wholly owned subsidiary of corporations, Wall Street, and their lobbyists. Corporations are awesome when they are responsible citizens that respect people and democracy. But when they use their power to destroy our democracy, don’t you think it’s a good idea to finally stand up and say, Hell No!

Don’t you agree that our country is broken? Don’t you agree that it’s due in large part because of the influence of money and special interests?

And BTW, if you actually knew the people camping and had spent time with them you’d know that they are very respectful and they will not leave any mess at all.

jmak00
Guest
jmak00

The government is not broken. It’s working precisely the way it has been asked to work since the New Deal. Corporations don’t own the government. The government, though, wholly encourages to do so by the people, nearly owns us. For example, one in three jobs requires govt permission to perform (think licsenses, certifications, degrees) today, while that was one in fifty four decades ago. Government is so entangles in our lives, again, as demanded by the people, that we all have an interest in how govt operates, hence special interests.

Corporations, unions, ethnic/racial organizations, environmental groups, state/local govts, et al…these are all groups composed of individuals.Our local bike community is a special interest. These interests aren’t the problem. The problem is primarily the outcomes of their efforts to influence government action…outcomes you disagree with. For example, bank bailouts…shouldn’t have happened. Govt believed that it could avoid a financial meltdown but it happened anyway. Govt is at fault. Finance is always a risk, hence, let risk run its course and whack a few banks. The current DoE scandal that is loan programs for alleged start-ups, like GE, GM, Ford, Nissan…corporations were seeking govt handouts because govt politicians and bureaucrats think they can centrally plan an economy. But you’re not protesting that!

The govt is working the way the ppl want it to, I.e., want government involved to address their grievances, protect them from regulations, or advantage them tax-wise. But then they whine when someone they don’t like receives the same benefit of govt action.

The govt is not broken. The problem is that the people have succeeded in getting their nanny state and are now unhappy with some of the outcomes.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…We’re protesting a government that is completely broken and that is a wholly owned subsidiary of corporations, Wall Street, and their lobbyists. …” maus/bikeportland

Oh c’mon maus…’completely’ and ‘wholly owned’ ? People that accept that type of simplistic, untrue and silly rhetoric as their own aren’t doing much to suggest they’ll ever come up with solid strategies for changing big corporation related problems affecting the U.S. government.

The Occupy group may be a bunch of swell people, but they couldn’t pull their decision making process together well enough to even come up with solid reasons for justifying the continued closure of Main St to normal vehicular traffic. And so…motor vehicles are again coursing Main St.

Once they’ve left, will the Occupy group haul all their trash away, and restore, or pay to restore the lawn, as for example, Rose Festival does with Waterfront park after bringing a great many people there, wearing the lawn down to nothing, like this group likely will have done with Chapman and Lownsdale? The trash…maybe, but probably not the lawn.

In any of its occupations across the nation, Occupy has yet to show signs of a definitive strategy, or any kind of strategy besides hanging out, chanting and waving signs in city parks, to introduce changes in corporations relationship with the people of the U.S. and their government.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Correction:

“…for correcting big corporation related problems affecting the U.S. government. …”

Paul in the 'couve
Guest
Paul in the 'couve

I had a long online discussion with about 10 younger people who either have been protesting or suppor the protest, and the data I got from that sample fits well with your description. Constantly they complained that “you just don’t get it.” They see the lack of strategic thinking and concrete demands as strength. One actually said

“Why does everyone think they need a clear message? Since when do protest use guidelines?”

and Another said

“These protesters are throwing ideas out there. it’s up to the people that know “how” to tackle these issues to step up and do something about it. When it comes to the finacial sector, only the people that make money know how to manipulate the system because the math is SO hard to decypher that nobody that is actually protesting knows how to tackle it. That is the whole point of this movement..it’s to say we as Americans and citizens of other nations are fed up with the way they do business.”

Several people agreed with these sentiments. The attitude reflected by my conversation was “We don’t need focus or a message or a plan or a strategy. We are angry and upset and we want the country fixed. Now all you smart people go figure out how to fix it for us.”

If that is in anyway typical of the movement as a whole it isn’t going to go anywhere.

Interesting enough the thread I was discussing with this people on was started because of a video where the news casters called the protestors morons and stupid. My conclusion was he wasn’t far off the mark regarding the folks I was talking to.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

There’s no question that the intricacies of American politics, its economy and business is complicated, and difficult for even quicker than average minded people to follow. I commend anyone and everybody that makes efforts to get up to speed on and understand those critical elements of our society.

The people participating in the Occupy effort that are seriously attempting to do this deserve a fair share of respect. In the development of their own ideas and in their decision making, they never the less have to face the practical realities of relating and responding to people of the general public in this country, and to the governments that we all are working with.

This bit about the “General Assembly” that maus has referred to in his story, and the requirements OP has mandated for coming to their decisions….the 80-90 percent consensus requirement… does not stand to hold much if any ground with the public or government. People aren’t prepared to wait around forever for simple decisions to be made.

A person commenting to bikeportland, going by the blog name of ‘Alan 1.0’ apparently has been working to figure out a few details about the OP GA sessions, and wrote some about the groups consensus process. Read that persons related comment here:

http://bikeportland.org/2011/10/12/standoff-over-sw-main-street-continues-photos-60486#comment-2076111

Regarding name calling that you overheard a video crew referring to OP participants by…this is something I seriously encourage people to refrain from, because it’s just not a constructive thing to do. It doesn’t represent useful solutions. It’s self defeating. It wastes nearly everyone’s time.