The following petition has been sent out by the Oregon Working Families Party. PPRC's earlier open letter to the Mayor is appended below. Please circulate widely!
Open Letter to Mayor Sam Adams and Police Chief Michael Reese,
As members of the Portland community, we urge you to take a more constructive approach toward the Occupy Portland encampment than the inevitably conflictual eviction effort you have threatened. We want to stress that we do not speak for Occupy Portland but as part of the 99% who very much appreciate the megaphone Occupy Portland has given to the issues we all care about.
We understand that cooperation between the Occupy Portland community and the Portland police has been generally productive and respectful to date and we don't see why that can't continue. While it is true there have been some problems at the camp with drugs and property damage, those problems beset the City at all times, and in fact the people in the Occupy encampment have been, by your own accounts, helpful in dealing with those problems.
We believe that those problems you worry about at the Occupy Portland encampment reflect the tremendous income disparity and lack of social services, mental health services, and affordable housing, that the Occupy Wall Street movement has so effectively brought to the fore. Rather than sweep the encampment, homelessness, and income disparity out of sight once again, the City of Portland should adopt concrete measures to address some of those concerns.
We ask that you begin by looking publicly at the disparity in spending by the City on the needs of the 1% versus the 99%. Perhaps we could use some of those buildings the City and the Portland Development Commission subsidized which are now laying vacant or partially vacant due to the economic crash to provide housing, social services, and gathering places for the homeless and near homeless of this City. For the many veterans among them, we could provide counseling, health care, a chance at community somewhere other than under a bridge in the cold and rain. We could commit to training for our police on nonviolent interactions with the homeless and mentally ill and on issues of racial profiling.
There are many steps you and the City Council could take, concrete steps, not just rhetoric, that would show good faith. We need positive action not eviction!
Portland Peaceful Response Coalition Open Letter to Mayor Sam Adams
Dear Mayor Adams,
It is a grave mistake for the City of Portland, our city, to use the Police Bureau to enforce an eviction on the Occupy Portland encampment. This decision represents a unilateral escalation that is both unjustified and dangerous.
If there is a public safety imperative arising out of the continued occupation, then the appropriate response is to address that public safety concern in a manner that is both effective and commensurate, not to cynically use those concerns to rationalize suppression of the Constitutional Rights of the Occupy Portland citizens. If there are public safety and public health concerns, eviction will simply displace and mask those concerns, which ultimately find their roots in the damage that our grossly unequal economic system has wrought upon our society broadly, and here in Portland specifically.
We urge you, Mayor Adams, to reconsider your decision to forcefully remove the people from the Occupy Portland encampment. It would be a mistake of genuinely historic dimensions if you do not find another path towards addressing these public health and safety concerns, in cooperation, rather than in confrontation, with the people of Occupy Portland.
In solidarity with the people of Occupy Portland,
PPRC General Meeting