November 14, 2011 by staff
Occupy Portland, Anti-Wall Street demonstrators and their supporters flooded a city park area in Portland early Sunday in defiance of an eviction order while authorities elsewhere stepped up pressure, arresting dozens of people.
Crowds converged on two adjacent downtown Portland parks where protesters are camped after city officials set a midnight Saturday deadline to disperse. Hours later, protesters remained, though the crowd had thinned and obeyed police orders to clear the street and take down two makeshift barricades.
At one point overnight, the crowd swelled to thousands.
As dawn arrived, riot police had retreated and most of the crowds had gone home, but protesters who have been at the two parks since Oct. 6 were still there.
One of the organizers, Jim Oliver, said the night had been a victory for Occupy Portland.
“We stood up to state power,” Oliver told the Associated Press, standing on a corner opposite the camp.
Still, the camp is a shadow of what it was before Saturday. A large segment of the campers consisted of homeless people who had been drawn to the free food and shelter offered by Occupy Portland. They are gone, after outreach workers went through the camp to help them find shelter elsewhere.
And as the Saturday midnight eviction deadline neared, protesters themselves began dismantling tents.
There were once 300 or so tents at the camp. Early Sunday morning, a fraction of them remained.
Mayor Sam Adams had ordered the camp shut down, citing unhealthy conditions and the encampment’s attraction of drug users and thieves.
On Sunday, at an impromptu news conference, he defended his order, saying it is his job to enforce the law and keep the peace. “This is not a game,” he said.
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