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Ride planned tomorrow in support of Occupy Portland

Posted by on November 10th, 2011 at 9:59 am

SW Main Street - Occupy Portland-7-6

View of Occupy Portland from
SW Main Street.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Local activist and founder of Crank My Chain! Cycle TV Dan Kaufman is organizing a bike ride from Southeast Portland to show support for Occupy Portland.

Kaufman is encouraging interested folks to “occupy your bicycle” and ride to this Friday’s meeting of the General Assembly that takes place in Terry Schrunk Plaza (across from City Hall). Kaufman’s ride is part of a larger idea/effort he’s putting together dubbed “Occupy Wall Street/Liberate Main Street.”

In a nutshell, Kaufman wants to plug into the Occupy movement in order to spur more citizen activism around transportation justice issues (such as the continued government subsidy of automobiles and influence of Big Oil on our national politics).

Kaufman also wants the ride to honor Veterans Day and he’s encouraging folks to decorate bikes with American flags, “to help remind folks that human power and citizen involvement/protest are patriotic actions.” The ride will end at the General Assembly because Kaufman, who has visited the encampment many times in the last month, says that’s “the soul and brains of the movement.”

Kaufman put together a video message about the ride and his thoughts on the Occupy movement…

Join Dan and others at Colonel Summers Park (SE 20th and Belmont) tomorrow at 5:45 (more info here).

As I shared last month, I think there’s a natural synergy between the Occupy movement and many of the issues transportation activists frequently come up against.

— In other Occupy Portland news, Mayor Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese are having a press conference today where many people expect them to issue a deadline for the encampment to end.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Chris I
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Chris I

Enjoy it while it lasts (until Sunday at 12:01am)

wsbob
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wsbob

Occupy Portland had a lot of time to figure out how not to get evicted, but instead, it comes to this.

So will they leave peacefully, taking all their stuff with them, and work to restore the park into some kind of decent condition? Will they assume at least that level of personal responsibility for a community situation directly related to their own presence and inaction?

Dan Kaufman’s seems to be trying to make an effort to encourage citizens to grab some control of life in their own communities. Lack of that kind of initiative amongst apparently most of the people squatting at Lownsdale and Chapman parks may be the key thing that’s bringing this demonstration and experiment to an end.

are
Guest

something about the rhetorical flavor of your post suggests that you think the answer is no, they would not restore the park, though in fact they have been making efforts and plans to do so. of course, if the encampment is suddenly removed in the dead of night, they might not have a lot of opportunity to clean things up.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…of course, if the encampment is suddenly removed in the dead of night, they might not have a lot of opportunity to clean things up. …” are

Three days notice, actually more than 36 hours doesn’t hardly qualify as ‘suddenly’.

So now, due to its inability to catalyze an adequately organized ongoing presence in the parks in the middle of the city, Occupy Portland has three long days to pick up its stuff and get out.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

I should also have mentioned that I am inclined to think some of the people associated with Occupy Portland will in fact stay on after the people there that haven’t been doing much besides squatting have all left, and volunteer to help the city put the parks back in shape.

Their doing so could contribute to leaving one of the more positive aspects of OP’s presence in the parks.

There’s plenty of constructive knowledge and skills amongst various people involved with this effort, but those things were seriously overwhelmed by terrible conditions that came to characterize the OP’s presence in the parks.

If 100 people…approximately 25 percent of the people that have been staying in the parks with OP, stay on for however long it takes to help the city pick and haul off the trash, rake up, till, level and grade the turf bed and prepare it for re-seeding in spring, that could make quite a positive impression.

matt picio
Guest

“they” and “personal” responsibility are mutually exclusive. “They” implies communal.

It’s hard to say what will happen. The Occupy “movement” is comprised of lots of individuals. Some will work to restore the park, some will voluntarily leave, some will make a stand based on whatever they feel they are there for and refuse to leave, and some will do something completely not any of these things. Many of the incidents that have happened and been laid at the foot of some notional group of people have been instigated or perpetrated by individuals who share few if any of Occupy’s values. Indeed, the movement is broad-based enough that it’s hard to define common values of the participants.

It’s similar in some respects to Critical Mass, which had a number of incidents (broken windows, vandalism, et al.) that were performed by people who showed up for CM but weren’t really sharing in the communal value-set.

It’s very difficult to talk about any issues revolving around individual behavior at a communal event, or to predict what the communal behavior will be which results from a mass of individuals confronted with an external stimulus.

The only thing we can be sure of is that there will be those who will be quick to apply labels, paint with a broad brush, and disregard this group and the individuals who comprise it.

I don’t envy the mayor or the police – they have an impossible task, no matter what they do, a lot of people will be dissatisfied with the result.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

” “they” and “personal” responsibility…” matt picio

Recognizing that OP seeks to operate on anarchistic principles of individuality and decisions made by consensus, rather than OP as a ‘they’ with a ‘personal’ character, I’m saying that certain individuals involved with OP will decide to honor their personal sense of responsibility and stay to help clean up restore the parks.

Some of the people in the parks can and probably will be willing to do that sort of thing. For that effort, they’d very likely get continued support from the public at large for their efforts…food, clothing, tools, materials and supplies.

OP in fact, could have initiated such a phase on its own, gradually closing out occupation of sections of the park for methodical restoration, one by one, instead of allowing a situation to develop that compelled the city to step in and oblige everyone to leave.

sw resident
Guest
sw resident

Conservative estimates are that it will takes months to clean up and at least a year and a half will have to go by before the extent of the damage to the parks can be assessed. Even if some occupiers want to leave it better than they found it, they will not be allowed to. The Parks Board stated earlier this week that the cleaning will have to be done professionally because of the presence of sharps which pose a biohazard, and the leaking of generator fuel which has contaminated the soil: http://blogtown.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownPDX/archives/2011/11/07/the-story-behind-occupy-portlands-new-dumpster-no-more-parks-maintenance

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

sw resident November 10, 2011 at 6:48 pm. … . I take the info and claims reported in the Mercury blog story with the skepticism.

A little diesel fuel may have been spilled. There was two, maybe three little portable camp generators I noticed in the parks.

Sharps? Apparently there were some intravenous addicts amongst the people at the parks. Out of 400-500 people, how many might that be? More than 10 percent?

I hope the city doesn’t try get the public to buy a notion that the entire area of the two parks is littered with discarded hypodermic needles and consequently must have the HASMAT team scanning every square foot of ground for sharps.

OP participants that have been staying at the parks and that are prepared to volunteer cleanup and restoration help, probably have a fair idea where in the park addicts were squatting. Doesn’t seem like a professional should be needed to sift soil for needles.

OP volunteers can probably help with landscaping too. Using a rake isn’t something that requires a college degree and a big city salary to know how to do.

Indy
Guest
Indy

Are you sure you want biking/transportation to associate with this group? I don’t think in general the OP movement has philosophically the support it needs to gain traction with any other side issues.

Anecdotal and all, but most of my friends and family that have been watching the Oakland and OWS events with full support have not had the same feelings for OP and the campground it has created..

dan
Guest
dan

I’m afraid that the Occupy movement is losing their mandate. One result of their unwillingness to state clear goals is that there’s no way for them to know when it’s time to call it quits.

What is the movement’s desired endgame? In the absence of an answer to that question, I don’t see any possible end other than a slow loss of popular support/slide into irrelevance.

I wish they would put forth/work towards some clear goals, as it is, it seems like their energy will not yield results.

are
Guest

if you have something to contribute, why not participate instead of sniping from the sidelines

Stretchy
Guest
Stretchy

I contribute by being one of the 53% of americans who actually pays income taxes each year. You’re welcome.

sorebore
Guest
sorebore

Hey… for me at least there has been no real motivation to go downtown and sit in the park.(please read on before you attack me!) I would say that I see it from both sides. The bike ride offered along with the message provided seems to speak to the issues while allowing me a motion to act in a way I can identify with. GOOD!…NOW on another thought…
Perhaps there are those who may see the protest as GOOD, but are not willin’ to destroy the park system in the process. Maybe they, along with myself would be willing to show support by volunteering to help clean the mess up? Does anyone know if this idea has been kicked around?

Mike
Guest
Mike

I hope this ride is in support of the message(what ever it is) and not the derelicts that are camping out. I have ridden through there and it is god awful and scary. Time to sweep up the filth

Matt F
Guest
Matt F

Dan, when you start a conversation with someone, do you know where it’s going to end up when you start?

It’s easy to pick apart the group and the movement. If you are finding that you are doing that, remind yourself to not lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Thank you Occupy Portland and Occupy Wall Street. Thank you for starting a national conversation that matters. Thank you for protesting orchestrated, increasing inequity. Thank you for standing up.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Thank you for standing up, and now it is time to go home. Your point is made and if you make it for too long you only become annoying and get dismissed.

Randall S.
Guest
Randall S.

“Okay Ms. Parks, you made your point. Now go sit in the back of the bus.”

Richard
Guest
Richard

If you want to protest segregation, sitting at the front of the bus or at a “whites only” lunch counter is civil disobedience that targets the exact evil you are protesting.

If you want to protest the draft, burning a draft card or refusing to sign up with Selective Service is civil disobedience that targets the exact evil you are protesting.

If you want to protest nuclear weapons development, chaining yourself to the gates of a weapons lab is civil disobedience that targets the exact evil you are protesting.

If you want to protest the concentration of wealth and political power in the hands of a small number of Americans, what does an illegal campout in a public park have to do with the evil you are protesting?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Maybe they are just protesting the park curfew policies?

are
Guest

yes, it probably would be better to focus the protest on the financial institutions. will you be more supportive of the planned direct actions against banks next thursday?

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

yes, and then she was arrested.

dan
Guest
dan

No, but when starting a labor strike, hunger strike, boycott, protest movement, etc., it seems to be general practice to have some articulated goals for the reasons I outlined above. I don’t think the comparison to a “conversation” is very applicable.

Lazlo
Guest
Lazlo

Be sure and lock your bikes, or they might be “liberated”.

Deeeebo
Guest
Deeeebo

Randall, you dishonor the entire civil rights movement with you hackneyed comparison. Rosa Parks and others were jailed, beaten and killed because they simply asked to be treated as a human being. Camping out with the tacit approval of city government to have your school loans forgiven or your home foreclosure waived is a far cry from what these people experienced. Please stop with the hyperbole.

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

And please stop your holier-than-thou attitude concerning people facing massive debt, homelessness and suffering for the benefit of banks.

Stretchy
Guest
Stretchy

I’m not sure how a debtload one can not possibly pay back, homelessness or suffering benefits the banks? After all, if you can’t pay back your loan, the bank loses money. Homeless people, by and large, don’t have bank accounts so, the bank doesn’t make money off of them and, as far as I know, suffering doesn’t help their bottom line either.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Holier than thou? Are you being lynched? Completely unfair comparison…

Richard
Guest
Richard

Jonathan,

Did you intentionally choose a photo showing a cyclist riding the wrong way on a one-way street?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I believe the cars are parked the wrong way on a one way street without parking. This was likely during the period when the street was closed?

Richard
Guest
Richard

Thanks. Took a closer look, and you are right.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

The deer (or elk or whatever) on that statue faces north, meaning that the cyclist is actually riding the correct direction, west-bound (uphill).

Not sure why the cars are parked the wrong way. Probably while the street was occupied and closed at the start of the protest.

Bob_M
Guest
Bob_M

Wow – I would not have expected such a high percentage of the comments to be so dismissive of the occupiers. Did the photo of the guy pooping on the police car make you forget the economic collapse in 2008? or that there is an incestuous relationship between Wall Street and the Government who collude to redistribute wealth higher up the food chain.

Without doubt the anarchists and homeless have damaged the movement, but the reason for the protest remains valid.

dan
Guest
dan

Yeah, but did you forget that the protesters have advanced zero constructive ideas for how to address the problems we’re facing, and in the meantime are starting to become a nuisance?

Joshua
Guest
Joshua

Just because you aren’t listening doesn’t mean they don’t have ideas.

dan
Guest
dan

Such as?

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Okay, so what impact are they really having at this point? Other than turning public opinion against them?

Alison
Guest
Alison

I am a female RN who makes home visits to elderly shut-ins in the downtown core. I’ve been enjoying making those visits on my bike since spring, but am now considering going back to driving. The reason has nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with personal safety. Downtown has become a scary place since OP moved in. The car offers temporary safety from threatening people, the bike simply does not. The good intentions of the OP organizers don’t count for much when the end result is crime, fear and filth. The city belong to us all–it’s well past time to take it back.

are
Guest

where does anyone imagine the people who are causing these difficulties will disappear to when the encampment is broken up? the occupation did not create these people, it just (inadvertently) provided a place for them to converge.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

They’ll most likely disperse back to wherever it is they came from. Would you suggest it’s better for OP to allow an overwhelming excess of dysfunctional squatters to exploit and effectively sabotage OP’s efforts to conduct a constructive demonstration of the need for positive economic justice for U.S. citizens?

Is it advisable for the city to to attempt within the conditions that developed at the relatively small area represented by these two or three parks, to address the various needs of the people that have been staying there?

If you know of some ways the city and its citizens could have realistically done this, spell them out. Try sit down and put together some tangible numbers….costs, timelines, and whatnot. That would be something for everyone to think about.

are
Guest

no, i think having these people overwhelming the camp has been a distraction for the occupiers, on the one hand, but also an opportunity not only to underscore the problem but also to allow social workers to access these people all in one place. and in fact, the city and some of these agencies have been taking some advantage of that fact. if sensible measures can be taken over the next several days to make a somewhat smooth transition out of this mess, so much the better. the friday evening general assembly should be particularly interesting in this regard. all the more reason to bike on down there and listen in.

Richard
Guest
Richard

I go to a church that houses a year-round homeless shelter, specifically for families. In order to use the homeless shelter, the clients have to agree to no use of drugs or alcohol, they have to be respectful of other clients, and they have to be working with social services agencies to meet other needs (employment, medical issues) and to find transitional housing.

The OP encampment unfortunately appears to be “enabling” destructive behavior by providing meals and a place to camp with no rules and no requirements that people be working with social services to address their problems. Sorry, but I don’t see that as a positive approach to homelessness.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

If OP is causing the problems you claim, can’t you fix it with a two block detour?

captainkarma
Guest
captainkarma

After the comments I’ve read here, I will never again mistakenly look at “the bicycling community” as a community at all. I am disappointed, but I should’ve known better.

The strength of the vitriol by some about this movement only indicates how scared of it they all are. Bustin’ up OP or Oakland or OWS is not going to stop this movement. We’re in for a long summer next year.

This phenomenon has shown for sure, you can tell about people “Which side are you on”, as the old song asks (updated below).

“Ninety-nine to one
Ninety-nine to one
Think this game is over?
It’s only just begun.”

Words and music by Florence Reece and Rivka and Mike iLL Kilmer

Hugh Johnson
Guest
Hugh Johnson

Please tell me what is the connection between the Occupy camps downtown and cycling? What did you expect? That everyone is just going to fall in line with this movement? I’m supposed to support watching parks get trashed that I (not wall street) will have to pay to restore?

are
Guest

how do you feel about studded tires?

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

You are an excellent example of what is wrong with politics today. You expect everyone to think and act the same way you do.

Every ‘community’ has diversity, does it not?

rain bike
Guest
rain bike

“Disappointed”, captainkarma, that the “cycling community” can support a diversity of opinions on any given topic? Seems like a thinking, challenging, thriving community to me. And I’m not certain that those who support freeing the parks are the only ones with a bit of what you call vitriol – we’ll see Sat/Sun night, won’t we.

Dan Kaufman
Guest

I went to last nights general assembly to announce tonight’s ride and to get a gauge on what is going happen now that the camp has been served an eviction notice.

There were over 500 people. The community, consensus building, and ideas were astoundingly strong.

Personally, I would have encouraged tactical retreat but that was suggested and it was a minority viewpoint. That tactic is fully supported, however, for those who wish to do so.

The general consensus that I heard is to protect the camp, clean the camp, hold a party Saturday night Sunday Morning (drugs, alcohol, violence not encouraged). There were many other good ideas – notes should be avail soon on http://occupyportland.org

A bike/ped action committee was created and we came up with the action “Swarm to Protect the Occupation”. More info at CMC https://bitly.com/swarmpdx11-12-11 and on the shift calendar.

Tonight Occupy Portland meeting is Spokes-Council which is similar to General Assembly but works differently. There will be plenty of discussion. All are invited. If you’d like to ride we’ll meet 5:45pm at the Covered area in Col. Summers Park (See above).

After Spokes Council I will be leading a war memorial ride in honor of Veterans Day. I intend for it not be pro-war or anti-veteran.

Kerry
Guest
Kerry

Hook, line, and sinker. 53% applies to INCOME taxes, not taxes in general, which everyone pays in one way or another. The real tragedy is not that you are supporting the “moocher” class, but that only 53% of us are doing well enough to pay income taxes. That’s terrible!

Kerry
Guest
Kerry

Oops that was in reply to a commenter much further up. Sigh.

Deeeebo
Guest
Deeeebo

“…drugs, alcohol, violence not encouraged”

I find this remarkably telling. If your microcosm of the ideal system as it exists in the park cannot even explicitly mandate and enforce that these three items not be involved then you have real issues. Image is everything in this media driven world and to promote OWS ideas (some I which I believe to be valid) your image should be beyond reproach. As it is, the image has been co-opted by goons with black bandanas, the mentally questionable & the chemically dependent. I would really like this thing to turn productive but in its current state I’m very doubtful.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

In downtown Portland over the years, I’ve been accosted by a knife-wielding wino and physically assaulted by a street-kid, as well as pan-handled and stink-eyed by many other unsavory types, and I doubt any of those miscreants are Occupy participants. Lonsdale and Chapman Parks do not normally encourage me to linger due to the people who frequent them. In my walks through Occupy’s camp I have never felt threatened and have had several interesting and intelligent conversations with others there, as did my wife when she went with me. Criminals seeking to hide in Occupy’s camp have been turned in by Occupy participants. It would not surprise me if reseeding the grass after Occupy costs less than routine mowing and leaf blowing (wish they’d use raking, instead) which has been overcome by events. Biologic hazard of any needles left in the park are negligable within a day or so, as far as allowing volunteers to clean up, and I can’t imagine how the per-capita drug abuse in those parks is any higher during Occupy than it is among the park’s regular crowd. Perhaps it is time for Occupy to claim victory and move on but if it is, it is not for the multitude of reasons bleated by the mainstream media.

j Jones
Guest
j Jones

Agree with the OP and OWS CORE meaning, but I really resent association with bikes as a protest vehicle. Bikes are not political. I ride a bike for many reasons, none of them are political. I believe that the bike (should that be HPV?) community has enough negative issues without using themselves as a political tool. Encourage us to SUPPORT the issues, leave bikes out of it, please.