Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

‘Bicycle swarm’ planned to protect Occupy encampment from police

Posted by on November 11th, 2011 at 11:56 am

Event flyer

With yesterday’s announcement by Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Mike Reese that they will enforce park camping laws beginning 12:01 this Sunday, a showdown between the police and Occupy Portland might be inevitable.

To help create a buffer zone between the encampment and any police action, a decision was made at the General Assembly last night to create a “swarm” of people on bikes and foot around Chapman and Lownsdale Squares. Here’s more from activist and videographer Dan Kaufman:

Bike Master Plan Ride #4

(Photo © J. Maus)

“The general consensus is that there needs to be a party and potluck Saturday night and camp needs to be cleaned and cleared of much of the stuff (tents and other belongings) in advance. Occupiers want as many supporters as possible to protect and hold the camp in a non-violent fashion.”

The idea of the bicycle swarm, says Kaufman, is akin to creating a critical mass of riders around the parks. “You’re not doing anything illegal, you’re just riding your bike.” Kaufman says people on bikes and foot will circle around the parks to “disrupt the flow of what’s going on.”

The atmosphere of the bicycle swarm and inside the camps is intended to be festive and non-threatening. Kaufman encourages folks to wear costumes, decorate their bikes and bring bike sound systems.

The swarm meets at 11:00 pm at Salmon Street Fountain on Saturday night and will then roll to the encampments. Organizers say they hope new groups continue to arrive on the streets surrounding Chapman and Lownsdale Squares each hour on the hour beginning at 11:00 pm because it’s unknown exactly what time the police might begin a raid or whether or not they’ll do it at all.

“Be prepared to stay up late or be called back later since we won’t know when the Swarm will be needed most. Text PDXOccupy to 23559 to receive critical updates,” reads the event listing.

Learn more about the event on Kaufman’s blog.

(This bicycle swarm concept reminds me of the “Super Legal Rides” organized by Elly Blue back in 2005.)

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  • Schrauf November 11, 2011 at 12:02 pm


    Unfortunately the Swarm could become illegal simply by the police closing all roads and sidewalks around the parks so they can clear the camps without an audience and with less people in the way. Hopefully that does not happen.

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    • Richard November 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

      Absolutely guaranteed the police will close the adjoining streeets. Why wouldn’t they?

      And I still haven’t heard a cogent explanation as to why a movement that arose out of concern about the concentration of wealth and political power in the hands of a few now wants to be remembered as a struggle for the right to camp in a park. I’m fairly certain the “One Percent” are thrilled to see OP focus on that issue.

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      • PedInPDX November 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm

        The movement is less than two months old. Give it some time!

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    • karl d November 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      and is there a no cruising ordinance downtown

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      • are November 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm

        16.70.740 Acts Prohibited.

        Between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. of the following morning, no vehicle may pass along or across a traffic congestion thoroughfare, designated as such by signs as described in Section 16.70.730, more than two times.

        in other words, it must be posted. i have seen some of these signs at burnside and fifth or thereabouts, but had not noticed any down by city hall.

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  • Nick November 11, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    “You’re not doing anything illegal, you’re just riding your bike”? If you’re intentionally interfering with police, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.

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  • ME 2 November 11, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    This cyclist cannot wait for the Occupy camp to come down. Please continue to protest and exercise your first ammendment rights, but the establishment of a camp has created a dangerous environment that needs to be disbanded. Look around at other camps in other cities, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing drug overdoses and violent acts from people glomming on to the camp.

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    • canuck November 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      Only a matter of time?

      Two overdoses in Portland already.

      One overdose and one overdose death in Vancouver BC.

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  • danny November 11, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I’m very sympathetic to the Occupy message, but I agree with the mayor that the protest needs to evolve away from an increasingly lawless and dangerous urban campout. I hate to see bike advocacy get mixed up with interfering with police — which even this post on Bike Portland gets close to doing.

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  • jeff November 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    so this person wants a bunch of cyclists to stay up all night in order to interfere with a potentially forceful police action designed to eliminate illegal squatting in what once was a beautiful city park?

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  • Elliot November 11, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    It’s disappointing that some persons within OP have become so myopically focused on camping in these particular parks. Having a visible presence downtown is a means, not an end.

    IMHO, the last few weeks should have been spent developing support networks that weren’t physically tied to the Chapman and Lownsdale. However, even though OP’s time downtown has expired, there’s no reason it can’t be transformed and continue to exist, in some other shape.

    Change happens. Don’t try to hold on to the past – this is an opportunity to create something greater.

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  • Todd November 11, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I agree on all counts…not sure this is doing bike advocacy any favors.

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  • Todd November 11, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Oops…that was in response to danny’s post.

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  • Chuck November 11, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I have a hard time thinking of a worse or more irresponsible idea than this. And yes, interfering with a police action, even if you’re on a bike and wearing a fun costume, is illegal. If PPD can arrest and charge people for standing around (as they often will do), they can sure as hell ticket you for riding around a park which is being cleared.

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    • John Lascurettes November 11, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      Seems like it would fall under a no cruising law at minimum (which applies downtown if you’ve spotted the discreet signs on Burnside) if one were to ride past the same spot over and over. At worst, right or wrong, interfering with a police action is an arrest-able activity.

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  • Brian November 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    ME 2
    This cyclist cannot wait for the Occupy camp to come down. Please continue to protest and exercise your first ammendment rights, but the establishment of a camp has created a dangerous environment that needs to be disbanded. Look around at other camps in other cities, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing drug overdoses and violent acts from people glomming on to the camp.
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    Using “overdoses” as reasoning to oppose the occupation is a silly buy-in to conservative radio show rhetoric. The occupation doesn’t create drug addicts, nor does it increase the availability of drugs or violence associated with it. When the occupants are removed it will simply spread the users and drugs around a bit more, it will not eliminate the issue. Drug overdoses will still be occurring, you just won’t hear about it on your various media sources because it happened quietly under a bridge to someone you do not know (and therefore there is no real “reason” to report it).

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    • Perry Hunter November 11, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      No, but it is an attractor to people who have nothing to do with the original purpose and message, and their association is tainting the value of what Occupy is trying to do. Time to declare victory, pack it up and engage in a different, but positive way.

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      • Lazy Spinner November 11, 2011 at 6:19 pm

        Imagine if all of the true protestors (especially those under 30) actually voted? They might just bring about some change.

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    • PedInPDX November 11, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      Well said! I think it’s acceptable to believe that more needs to be done by the City and OP to curb those sorts of behaviors, while also bearing in mind the context (and systemic causes) of drug abuse, homelessness and crime in Portland.

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  • pdxella November 11, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I only hope that bicycles don’t become a weapon in the midst of chaos and protest. Hoping things stay peaceful and non-violent this weekend.

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  • JV November 11, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    It’s rare to see so much consensus in BP comments! I agree with the prevailing sentiments above. I also think that this BP post reads as if advocating for this event, which really has very little to do with bicycling or bicyclists. Jonathan, I feel like a better journalistic stance would have at least included a statement from the Portland Police.
    (Sorry to only give negative feedback; 99% of the time, I think your reporting is outstanding, which is why I keep reading!)

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  • PorterStout November 11, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Without taking a side either way, I wonder what the organizers of this swarm would think if other cyclists who were ready to see the camps disbanded got on their own bikes and blocked the swarmers from doing their thing. Would the swarm cyclists accept this as civilly as they are expecting the police to be with their interference movement? Would wearing festive costumes help? Seems like the organizers are expecting a lot of patience from the lion whose tail they’re pulling.

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    • Brian November 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      Swarm the swarm. That’s actually pretty funny.

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  • Greg November 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Using bicycles to impede the police from conducting a public safety operation would go a long way towards turning the public against bicycling. That’s the kind of advocacy we could do without.

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  • Steve B November 11, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks Dan for helping coordinate this important solidarity action. We have no shortage of opinions on OWS and OP, but we dop need more folks to get involved and participate. There is no neutrality here, you’re either on the side of the corporations or on the side of the people. I’m with the people.

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    • Zach November 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      Excuse me? Does disapproval of a anarchic tent city taking up two public parks that used to be free and safe for everybody to use put me on the side of the corporations? Take your head out of the clouds. Or wherever it is.

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      • Zach November 11, 2011 at 1:10 pm

        It’s not like the homeless/mentally ill/drug addicted weren’t welcome there before, either. Everyone in the city uses those parks.

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      • Steve B November 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm

        Disagreement on tactics is part of the process. But indignation toward OP puts you on the other side of this social movement.

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        • Paul in the 'couve November 11, 2011 at 2:38 pm

          That is a load of cr@p

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        • jeff November 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm

          the ‘with us or against us’ mentality if very George Bushian of you…

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        • sorebore November 11, 2011 at 10:33 pm

          no,no,no…don’t think so.

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    • Eric November 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      Such a black and white view of the world, W Bush would be proud.

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      • Steve B November 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm

        I am referencing the idea put forward by Howard Zinn (You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train), where it’s convenient for many of us to put forward our criticisms and convenient to not choose a side, and then complain that we don’t have a viable social movement. If you are not moving your criticism to constructivism and leadership, you are actively working against that movement.

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    • Richard November 11, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      The Corporations vs. The People.

      Nice. Simple.

      So you oppose corporations? The City of Portland is a “municipal corporation” of the State of Oregon.

      The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is a domestic nonprofit corporation.

      And Jonathan Maus, proprietor of this blog, is the President of Pedaltown Media, Inc., a domestic business corporation.

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      • Steve B November 11, 2011 at 1:49 pm

        No, I am for putting people first, ahead of corporations.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm


        I’m all for corporations! Corporations are awesome! But this is about being against mean, bad, greedy ones that put profits before people.

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        • Stretchy November 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm

          When a corporation makes a profit, where do you think that money goes? For that matter, how does a corporation make a profit? Do they have the power to compel you to purchase their product? Can they force you to give them money?

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        • Richard November 11, 2011 at 3:05 pm

          Sorry for “outing” your status as a corporate executive, Jonathan. 🙂

          I’m all for regulating corporate behavior — I just don’t find the “corporations vs. people” construct very helpful. “Mean, bad, greedy corporations” reflect the mean, bad, greedy people who run them.

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    • A.K. November 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      But but but… corporations ARE people! What now?

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    • Sigma November 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

      “You’re with us or you’re with the terrorists.”

      -George Walker Bush

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    • Dave Cary November 12, 2011 at 2:58 pm

      It’s not that simple. Like saying you’re either a Democrat or a Republican. No I’m not either. And I’m neither with the corporations or this mob downtown. It is highly ill-advised for bicyclists to get involved with what appears to be a highly charged conflict. It’s time to stay home and monitor your TV. Don’t make a bad situation any worse by “expressing your first amendment rights of free speech.” You also have the right to shut the hell up.

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  • PorterStout November 11, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    “There is no neutrality here, you’re either on the side of the corporations or on the side of the people. I’m with the people.”

    There’s far too much “you’re either with us or agin us” attitude in our society these days as it is. The Occupy movement is way too complex to be summed up by such a simplistic dismissal of alternative opinion. Few things are really so black and white.

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    • Steve B November 11, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      It really is that simple. Sure there are lots of complexities within the movement over issues, ideas and tactics, but if you don’t see what’s happening to working and middle class people for the sake of corporate success, you need to open your eyes.

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      • Stretchy November 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm

        I see that every quintile of society is making more money today than they were making 10, 20 etc… years ago. I see that you have access to an unprecedented number of choices in the products and services you can buy and, those products and services are less expensive and higher quality than ever before.

        I see that more people have more, and better access to more, and better things than ever before and much of that is a result of evil corporations furiously trying to give you more and better things at a better price so they can compete with their rivals and stay in business.

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        • are November 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm

          and actually, a lot of that is at the expense of the 99 pct who live elsewhere

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          • Stretchy November 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm

            Actually, people all over the world are doing better. Especially those being exploited by the evil corporations for their labor. That exploitation takes the form of a job, that pays them money, and gives them skills, that all make their lives better. Yes, there are those who are worse off or, not getting any better but, they tend to live in failed states or, other places where they’re cut off from global commerce.

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  • pdx2wheeler November 11, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Legally cyclists have to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, especially pedestrian police officers. So not allowing them to cross the street by nature would put you in legal hot water, but I’m not a lawyer, I just play one on the internet. Best of luck to all, and lets hope nobody get hurt on either side.

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  • Dan Kaufman November 11, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I appreciate the feedback here and actually agree with much of it. I advocated very strongly for tactical retreat. That is NOT going to happen in large part because YOU were not down there with me.

    The silence around Occupy Portland from all the people who like to do all sorts bike events of social significance (and do protests like the world naked bike) ride has been deafening.

    But more than I oppose the crappy camp (a hill I don’t feel like dying on) I do support the Occupy Portland movement.

    The Mayors short notice was unfair and the city, county, and other organizations should have working harder to help deal with the problems associated with homelessness, mental illness, drug addiction and violence. These problems that can’t just be evicted because they are symptoms of our failed social system. Maybe you don’t want to see it but it’s not going away.

    Who do you see doing anything about the massive and systematic problems?

    It’s the occupiers. I support them.

    For those who disagree with this action, there will be no swarm and no tresspassing tonight. Please join me for a ride to the General Assembly Spokes-council. There will be a place for you voice. After I will be leading a war memorial ride in honor of the men and women who have stood up for our nation in times of war and peace. http://shift2bikes.org/cal/#11-2673

    PS Swarm the swarm that’d be awesome.

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    • Neighbor Gregg November 11, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks Dan!

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    • meh November 11, 2011 at 3:57 pm

      “The silence around Occupy Portland from all the people who like to do all sorts bike events of social significance (and do protests like the world naked bike) ride has been deafening. ”

      Deafening silence because they don’t agree with OP?

      Why do you think that people who volunteer for good causes with regards to bicycles somehow have to be in agreement with OP?

      Maybe it’s because they put on positive events, that bring people together to enjoy a wonderful activity like cycling to do good for others, and they can’t agree with the methods used by OP or the deterioration of the entire situation downtown.

      But really saying that by being philanthropic and being bike centric requires you to side with OP is ridiculous.

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      • are November 11, 2011 at 6:21 pm

        i cannot speak for dan, but i understood his point to be that if someone claims to agree with some of the politics that are behind the occupy movement but complains that someone else who went out there and tried to make a statement is “doing it wrong,” what they are also implicitly saying is that they themselves did not go out there and try to “do it right.” what you see manifested in those two blocks, to the extent it can be managed at all, has been and is being managed by a consensus of who shows up. you don’t show up, you cannot meaningfully complain that they aren’t doing it right.

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        • meh November 11, 2011 at 10:26 pm

          “if someone claims to agree with some of the politics that are behind the occupy movement”

          That’s where the argument breaks down, the assumption that those who organize bicycle based events for good causes agree with the OP politics.

          He made a tenuous relationship between the two groups and attempted to guilt people into participating.

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    • Hugh Johnson November 11, 2011 at 7:30 pm

      The “system” is a failure? Did it ever occur that sometimes people themselves are failures?

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    • wsbob November 11, 2011 at 7:52 pm

      “…The Mayors short notice was unfair …” Dan Kaufman

      He gave them 36 hrs notice. And basically, the last 5 weeks, the city has been cutting everyone there in the parks some major slack. They should have moved on or got their act together for a sustainable camp in the parks long before this. Adams was more than fair.

      I walked around the parks tonight between 4pm and 5pm. There were signs some of the people were cleaning up, packing up, preparing to move out. Mostly in the northernmost park.

      Lots of people standing around idle in the south park, though it looked as though there’s a huge amount of work to be done. Big dumpster on 4th, already filled with tarps and junk…one of those styrofoam produce cartons filled with garden squash. Most of the tents and tarps are still up. Maybe they weren’t abandoned, but it kind of seemed that way.

      At 5pm, EMT’s were called in to tend to some kid sprawled out cold, not moving on the sidewalk in the park. People thought he might be dead, but no…overheard some guy in a uniform say he was o.k. They loaded him on the rolling stretcher and hauled him off.

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  • resopmok November 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Hate to throw a stick in the spokes but a swarm won’t do much against police with tear gas and riot gear. Also, now that the plan is public, I have a feeling the cops will probably come up with a pretty good counter move, such as barricading the streets so you can’t ride in them. And if you think the PPD won’t resort to some sort of violence, no matter how mild, then its time to pull the idealistic blinders off and be prepared to spend the night in a cold cell after being beaten by a baton. Not that I wish that sort of thing on the OP’ers, just trying to offer a dose of reality.

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  • timbo November 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I hate how bikes get brought into political issue’s. Sets bike advocacy back. Media will now focus on “swarms of bicyclists” rather then the real issue’s. Oh well….. here we go again.

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  • Bob_M November 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I am a supporter of the OP, but much of the most headling grabbing activity associated with the camp has been by bandana wearing anarchists who thrive on inciting violence. I walked through the parks this afternoon and did not feel threatened by people who are forthright enough to show their faces, but people with masks as part of their uniform, people with a history of violence do not put me at ease.

    Many anarchists have bikes and seeming exist to screw up other peoples events. (I guess that is part of the anarchy thing)

    Anyway a bike swarm will be coopted by the bandana bandits and it will not end well.

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  • Jon November 11, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    The party is over and it is time for this mess to be cleaned up. Crime, ODs, firebombs, sanitation problems. This is not a protest, it is a public nuisance that must be disbanded. Please don’t drag bicyclists into this. We have enough black eyes from all the riders that ignore traffic laws and don’t need to be associated with this group of anarchists.

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  • timbo November 11, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    2 thumbs up to Bob and Jon. Well said.

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  • George Hayduke November 11, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Civil disobedience and cycling, is there anything more noble in Portland?

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    • timbo November 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm

      Yes, But hopefully they don’t always have to be hand in hand.

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  • BURR November 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    My guess is that the police won’t actually move to clear the parks until about 4AM, which is the time they recently cleared Jamison Square and Schrunk Plaze.

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  • annefi November 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    This swarm thing — incredibly BAD idea!

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  • jim November 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I am surprised that Jonathan is still supporting this group after all that has gone wrong here. It is clear to 99% of us that this needs to end now, and peacefully. I will probably get deleted out again for saying so. So much for fair and balanced reporting, or being allowed an opinion.

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  • GuardRail November 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I will be there. I will be there after i get off work, yes WORK, to help clean up and get organized. I will be there at 11pm and I will be there at 12:01am.

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  • CarlB November 11, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    The way I see it, the criminals who have moved into the camp have more in common with the criminals at the investment banks than with the 99%.

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  • bikeyvol November 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I have to agree with comments here regarding bike advocacy and OP – the two do not mix. And I don’t see how trying to make the two mix will end well, especially for furthering safe cycling in Portland.

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  • Hugh Johnson November 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    exactly the image cycling needs. Bravo.

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  • Daniel R. Miller November 11, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    If there is a “deafening silence” from the bike activist community around the encampments downtown, I think it is because collectively over the last decade this community has already done SO F**ING MUCH, and might be just a bit fatigued at the moment (though more in the way of a needed pause before the next push.)

    Not to ring too self-congratulatory a note on behalf of the “cycling community”, but there has been no general grouping of people in this city that has been more forthrightly active and even revolutionary in creating events and culture that challenge the status quo and model the better world we wish to live in. And certainly there have been huge numbers of cyclists participating in the several OP rallies and marches, and to a certain extent at the encampment. But if there is something that cycle-activist-funnists in Portland know, it is that you have to keep moving, evolving, ahead of your own game. Speaking for myself, I fully support the general aims and aspirations of the Occupy movement. I’ve been to several of the rallies and have attended GA’s and spent a fair amount of time at the encampment talking with folks. But the Lownsdale-Chapman encampments became ends in themselves, and at a spooky and depressing location to boot, hemmed in like that by looming grey government buildings and Murkwood-like trees.
    But the world we live in is still ripe for radical overhaul. The occupation, and the revolution, will continue and grow with a vengeance in the coming months and years.

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    • Kevin November 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm


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  • Daniel R. Miller November 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Having said all that, I may very well be at the Swarm.

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  • are November 11, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    the argument can be made that some people were better off without engaging in the global market. your criteria for what is “better” may differ from theirs. in any event, if “better” ultimately means that everyone has indoor plumbing and a television and eats processed food and lives in a world in which transactions that used to be social have been monetized . . . one might mention that the planet cannot bear ten billion people all living like that.

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  • Mike Quigley November 12, 2011 at 6:14 am

    There WILL be blood! Look for a lot of mangled bicycles. Better bring your disposable beater.

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  • Chrehn November 12, 2011 at 7:19 am

    The “Authorities” will use, make-up or create an excuse to maintain the status quo. Be Strong and Be Careful.

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  • Mike November 12, 2011 at 8:52 am

    People should make a trip down this toilet of a camp site. Take a look around. Are these the people you want to be your representatives? I certainly can’t relate to them and I am supposedly one of them. If they think they have it so hard try to balance a career and family. Try living with the pressure of raising 2 great kids. THAT IS HARD!!!!! .I will have no sympathy for the thugs that will certainly force the police to use force. And Jonathan, why is this bike related? Is this bike advocacy?

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    • Hart Noecker November 12, 2011 at 9:24 am

      Please spare us your self-righteous parenting platitudes. It has nothing to do with Occupy PDX. You know nothing about the people encamped there.

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      • Mike November 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm

        Thanks for the kind words. Well then, what is their purpose? It has become a stand off with a small group who want to camp, nothing more and the bad behavior has muddled the original message. Since you are such buddies with these folks, go down there and poll them on what their message is. Good luck finding a coherent message. Can’t wait to see the carnage tonight!!!!

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        • wsbob November 12, 2011 at 12:54 pm

          How is it that the father of two great kids:

          “…Try living with the pressure of raising 2 great kids. …” Mike

          …comes onto a public forum, lusting for violence and bloodshed against other people’s kids:

          “…Can’t wait to see the carnage tonight!!!! …” Mike

          Mike, you might try exercising a little self control in what you say and do. At least try not going off saying things I hope you wouldn’t like your kids reading as they’re thinking about what kind of person their dad is.

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          • Mike November 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm

            Was referring to the anarchists who love this type of confrontation. Thanks for the lecture.

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        • Kerry November 13, 2011 at 9:53 am

          Those are actual people, regardless of their messaging or homelessness. Shame on anyone disappointed this morning that some heads wewn’t busted.

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    • are November 12, 2011 at 11:06 am

      raised the two kids, been to the camp, have a completely different impression.

      yes, it is possible thugs will f*ck things up tonight, but those are thugs, not the occupiers.

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    • wsbob November 12, 2011 at 11:08 am

      Mike…you’re doing an awful lot of generalizing, and it sounds to be more hysterical than the result of rational thinking or objective seeing. There was and is a wide range of types of people in the parks participating in Occupy Portland.

      Most of the people there did not at all appear to be thugs, nor that I could see, were they casually allowing living conditions in the parks to descend to the state of a messy toilet. OP was a ripe opportunity for the Oregonian’s Oregonian Live regular cranks to jab at and make stupid jokes at the effort down in the parks, which they did exhaustively, the supposed ‘smell’ of what was going on there being a common target. I walked through the place a number of times. Never did detect toilet smells in the park, except around the porta-potties.

      That I could see, the vast majority of people were working on lots of creative, upbeat and practical tasks, ideas and activities, including such mundane jobs as sweeping the sidewalks and scrubbing out the permanent lavatories while they were still open. Given that the entire operation was allowed to run according to so called ‘anarchistic’ themes, a lot of effort to organize and keep living conditions somewhat manageable were made.

      What to do with and for the ill and criminal types of people that converged on OP, making it very much harder for the presence of OP in the parks to be sustaining, is a big question. I would hope that somebody like yourself would at least just try to make a distinction between these people and the many people in the parks that were seriously trying to do a good turn for the community as a whole.

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  • BURR November 12, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Amazing how many cyclists appear to be supporters of the Tea Party movement and believe everything they see and hear on the corporate media outlets.

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    • Mike November 12, 2011 at 11:28 am

      Not a supporter of the tea party movement but, they paid their permits, followed the government’s rules and demonstrated peacefully. I appreciate people who obey the law and act courteously toward me. After all, I’m on a bicycle, my life depends on the driver behind me being courteous, law abiding and, respectful of my rights.

      Not a big fan of folks who think the law is for other people. Nor am I a fan of people who abuse their access to the commons.

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      • BURR November 12, 2011 at 11:59 am

        Nothing in the First Amendment says you need a permit to express your rights described therein.

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        • Mike November 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm

          Is it legal to camp in these parks?

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      • BURR November 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm

        Also, nothing I have seen in or near the Occupy camp would indicate to me that they are anything but non-violent.

        I also understand that Occupy does not have control over the personal actions of all the people camped in the parks.

        Sounds more to me as if you are prejudiced against homeless people, and would prefer them out of sight out of mind.

        As a matter of fact, the behavior and actions of the homeless population at Occupy may be unsettling to you and others, but in reality these are some of the most economically and socially disenfranchised people in America and this is their life, in or out of the Occupy camp. If that upsets you, I challenge you personally to work harder to end homelessness in America.

        Finally, if you can’t see that the homeless presence is being used as an excuse by the city and the media to vilify and ostracize those in the Occupy movement, and clear the camps in time for the holiday shopping season, then you have simply bought into their lies and manipulation of public opinion.

        Welcome to Orwell’s 1984.

        It’s a bit late now, but maybe you should have come down to the camp and seen for yourself, rather than accepting the corporate media’s lies. Better yet, come tonight and be a witness to the continuing rise of the corporate-police state, and the erosion of our constitutional rights.

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        • Hugh Johnson November 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm

          Oh please.

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          • BURR November 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

            you should stick to defending your retina burning headlamp

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        • Kevin November 12, 2011 at 11:05 pm

          I came down there with my wife and hauled her away when she was crying her eyes out because you destroyed two of her favorite park blocks and are damaging the Elm trees that are already on a decline in the portland area due to disease.

          Yes, we came down there. You all proved that you care nothing about anyone but yourselves.

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          • wsbob November 13, 2011 at 12:20 am

            It’s good to hear your wife appreciates the parks in good form, but overly emotional conclusions that the parks were “…destroyed…”, by this 5 week protest habitation don’t reflect much in the way of objective thinking behind those conclusions.

            I doubt very much the trees will have been damaged. The ropes tied around a number of trees I briefly looked at didn’t seem to have been chafing the bark.

            The turf bed might be compacted somewhat. The plan might be to lightly till and cover the ground with mulch until March-April, then tilled again and graded, in preparation for seeding new grass for spring.

            Unless someone decides to do something like spend a lot of money to roll out pre-grown turf over the entire park area for the winter months. In the winter when the ground tends to be either soggy with rain or frozen, it’s not as though people would be doing much on the turf anyway.

            All of this is work for people that need the work.

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      • wsbob November 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm

        “Not a supporter of the tea party movement…” Mike

        The Tea Party doesn’t likely subscribe to the anarchistic political philosophy that OP’s participants chose to guide their actions and decision making by, part of which is…probably…that permission shouldn’t be required of the public to use the public commons.

        The Tea Party chooses to go by the Republican political philosophy, so naturally, it would have been willing to get all the permits, pay all the fees, that have been made conditions to the use of public property.

        At any rate, OP in the parks eventually sabotaged itself through an inability to develop a sustainable plan for decent living conditions in its improvised, hodge-podge camp site. Seems to me, this is the reason OP is having to leave the parks, rather than it not having applied and received permits and paid fees.

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  • Dave Cary November 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm


    I think it’s time to step up and attempt to diffuse what promises to be an ugly situation tonight. Lending your considerable reputation to advocate for a bicycle swarm to hinder the police in performing their duty to all citizens of Portland is, in my opinion, dead wrong and setting up bicyclists in a lose-lose position. Where is the caution and good sense you seem to exude in nearly all of your other posts? We’re counting on you!

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  • Hugh Johnson November 12, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    you should stick to defending your retina burning headlamp
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    Sure…in fact, I’ll light the park blocks with it for the OP eviction.

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  • Dabby November 12, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Bike Swarm to protect Occupy?


    All though it does go well with the clergy hanging out down there waiting to pray for them, as neither that nor a bike swarm will do anything good.

    Oh, wait, but the Occupy isn’t doing anything good either……

    So it all makes sense.

    I can’t wait to see it gone…

    Why would we want to connect wonderful bicycles to something as ugly as “Occupy Whatever”?

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  • Harvey November 12, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I ride a fixxxie which makes me part of the 1%… of people who ride bikes. I’m proud of that. When my pedals stop moving, I stop moving. 99 out of 100 cannot say that, although when I screw up coming to a “stop” at a stop sign, it means 99 people are laughing at me (if during commuting hours)!

    Bike riding has nothing to do with OWS. Bike riding has to do with getting places.

    New movement: Occupy Bike Paths (while commuting)

    Who’s with me?

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  • Joshua November 13, 2011 at 4:32 am

    There was a phenomenal turn out tonight for the bike swarm. After 5 or so hours of riding in the rain I had to call it a night, but everyone I saw remained peaceful and civil.

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  • Edwin November 13, 2011 at 5:25 am

    just got home wish I could have kept riding but was about to fall over. I’m glad I made it to after 5am

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  • Fred November 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I am proud to be a cyclist but I’m not sure I wan to affiliate with you folks. Why confuse the issue with the swarm. These folks need to go, there are other methods to create change. I didn’t see any cyclist help the PPB clean up the mess!

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  • esther c November 13, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Occupy Portland didn’t create the homeless, the street kids, the addicts, the petty criminals that joined their camp. They took them in and provided services to them. Does anyone blame the Salvation Army and the downtown missions for the homeless, the addicts and the bums?

    These people are part of the population that the Occupy movement would like the see the government devote some resources to. How about some rehab, mental health services, transitional housing, support for families, etc so perhaps we wouldn’t have so many people with severe problems out on our streets. Why are there so many people in such dire straits that a tent city and shelter under blue tarps seems like a refuge?

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  • Ted Buehler November 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Dan —

    Great work. I’m glad you didn’t listen to the naysayers.

    Naysayers, note that sometimes a small group with a good purpose can and will change the shape of history.

    And, if you want a revolution, you and you friends need to be on the streets. No two ways about it.

    Ted Buehler

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