Saturday night was dangerous for occupations in some cities. In Denver, 17 people were arrested and all of Occupy Denver's gear was removed; in Salt Lake City, authorities used a bulldozer to clean up the camp after protesters were evicted. But not in Portland, which had a midnight deadline for eviction! No, in Portland the cops controlled the crowds for a few hours while the people had a party.

Seriously: thousands of Oregonians, protesting Mayor Sam Adam's deadline, swelled the ranks of the occupiers, playing music, passing around donuts and coffee, and generally having a good time. Even as the deadline approached, police officers were reportedly standing around smiling and interacting with partiers, and midnight was greeted with a loud countdown from the crowd but passed without effect. The party continued, occupying not just the park where the occupiers were encamped, but the street next to it as well.

The night wasn't without tension: around 2 a.m., an announcement over the PA system warned protesters to clear the street, and someone threw a projectile, injuring a police officer. But the occupiers—who had collectively made it clear that their resistance would be nonviolent—found the offender and turned him over to police. Tensions cooled somewhat after that, and for the next few hours, the police focused on controlling the crowd, which successfully held the park. A few hours later, as the sun began to rise and the parks were legally opened, protesters declared victory.


It seems likely that Portland police will try to evict the protesters again soon—Adams has made it clear he wants the camp gone. Even so, they deserve credit for not—unlike their counterparts elsewhere—overreacting and using violence against peaceful protesters. Good job, Portland police! You didn't hospitalize any veterans.

[Portland Oregonian, Portland Mercury, @AaronMesh, KATU]