The Occupy movement has had some strong supporters, both in the public spectrum and in the political arena. Many have attended rallies and protests, some have been guest speakers, and still others have been enthusiastic spokesmen. The most outspoken come from the suburbs, from 4- and 5-bedroom houses on quiet cul-de-sacs, to spout their wisdom and spur the underemployed, the unemployed, and the homeless to spectacular newsworthy acts. They encourage encampments and promise such bases will be reestablished.
Who pitches tents on public property? Who chains themselves to fixtures and to each other to make arrests more demonstrable? Who climbs and mauls public art work? Who carries signs and placards through rush hour traffic and downtown streets? Not the supporters from the suburbs.
Who pays for repair and restoration of the damage and destruction, the public security, the city employee overtime? Not the supporters from the suburbs.
Those of us living and working in the city did not have to visit an encampment to know what went on; we could not avoid it! We did not have to watch television news to see police in riot gear; they crossed our paths. Small businesses incurred extra costs for needed added security and then watched business traffic decline as patrons chose to stay safe and stay away. Employees were docked for lost days because of businesses that had to shut down or because they were afraid to show up for work.
It is city dwellers whose taxes pay for all these efforts in the name of the 99% – city taxes, and now Clean & Safe. We pay for that, too.
From the President of Clean & Safe: “The Mayor’s office informally asked if Clean & Safe would be willing to donate $4500 to restore/fix the bronze elk statue on Main Street, whose antlers are believed to have been damaged during the Occupy Portland protest. The Executive Committee approved this donation on behalf of the full board, and tomorrow the Mayor’s office will issue a press release thanking Clean & Safe for providing the funds to restore this iconic, century-old City treasure.”