We’re almost feeling nostalgic. One of the freakier encampments of the fading Occupy Wall Street movement has been in Portland, where we’ve been treated to such lunacy as this idiot telling rape victims not to report the crimes to the maniac attacking a news crew to the Molotov cocktail attack earlier this week.
Portland also produced its moments of hilarity, made most famous with this:
But now it’s time to pack and and go. Up twinkles for that.
Some people have left but many are staying in the camps, both old, and young, including clusters of young men wearing bandanas who appear to be looking for a fight. One young man, who’s been living in a huge box, is fortifying the inside with plywood and plans on piling up concrete blocks on the outside. He’s not going anywhere. Same with another young man, who admitted he’s scared.
Others, including a woman sweeping next to the kitchen area, said folks will leave once police sweep in but then will come back.
“That’s what they did in Oakland,” she said, giving her name only as Katrina.
She said most of the protesters are peaceful. One young man wrote out a name tag, saying he is a nonviolent protester.
But Jeff Billings, a 57-year-old veteran, said he’s worried about young people who are itching for a riot.
“They’ve never been in one before,” he said.
He’s moving his tent out Saturday to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged but plans to be back to stay past the eviction deadline at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. He said about a 100 veterans have promised to show up at Lownsdale and Chapman squares to defy authorities.
“The purpose of this whole thing is to defy the government,” Billings said. “But there won’t be enough room for them to arrest us.”
Portland Police Chief Mike Reese, who patrolled the park for several hours Friday, said he saw some positive signs that people were leaving.
“We’re encouraging folks to begin the process of packing up and and moving to appropriate shelter if they’re homeless,” said Portland police Chief Mike Reese. “If they’re not homeless, moving home. We’re seeing that people are actually packing up and moving out and that’s a very positive sign.”
But even as Reese talked positively about the actions of campers, the police bureau issued a press release with ominous overtones.
Police said they believe protesters in the Occupy Portland camps are soliciting out-of-state reinforcements, collecting gas masks and may be preparing weapons and shields for a confrontation early Sunday morning when police are expected to evict them from Lownsdale and Chapman squares.
Police spokesman Lt. Robert King said officers took out enough stone and foundation rocks to fill a pickup truck after an Occupy Portland protester tipped off police.
King said one of the Occupy Portland protesters approached him and showed him one of the rocks that some of the campers appeared to be stockpiling.
About 20 officers moved in to remove the rock, which was found at the northwest corner of Chapman Square. Officers also found some plywood.
Shortly after police removed the rocks, a young man sitting on a bench in Lownsdale Square collapsed. People started yelling that he was overdosing and dying. Officers started CPR while the crowd pressed around them, yelling at police and news media.
Police spokesman Lt. Robert King said it was the third overdose in the camps that police know of. It appears the man had taken heroin, King said. He was revived by emergency workers and was breathing as he was taken away on a stretcher.
Meanwhile, yet another overdoes was reported today.
After police officers said they removed a truckload of broken rocks and stones on Friday, campers said that most plan to defy police by civil disobedience, not violence. A kids camp has been vacated, and a group of about 100 veterans are expected to later join the movement.
Volunteers at the medical booth said they would stay until the end of the protest. They hoped to stock up at least a gallon of vinegar to treat bodily reactions to tear gas.
On Saturday morning, one of the medical booth volunteers, police and medical personnel responded to a camper suffering from a methamphetamine overdose. Three other overdoses have been reported over the course of the encampment, all related to heroin.