where the writers are
Occupy Portland


Unfortunately, I arrived in Portland around midnight heading into the second day after they'd been evacuated from the park.  Using the Internet, I knew they were holding a meeting indoors the following night, but I didn't know where I was, exactly, to know where the assembly was, exactly.  I tried to look for more information the next day, but found nothing, then, suddenly, they marched by my hotel as friends drove me away!  The police, encumbered by the darkness of riot gear, seemed to match in numbers the somber-looking protestors.  As we drove along, though, Dorothea honked her horn and I rolled my window down to cheer at them.  Immediately, they began chanting.  "We.  Are.  The 99%."  With the spark of support, the protestors suddenly appeared larger.  I'm sorry I couldn't join them.  


At lunch with friends I hadn't seen in years including one I hadn't seen in a decade, we carried on about the "Occupy" movement and what impact they may or may not be having.  Alex, I wouldn't say argued, but did point out that they ruined the grass and were an eye sore downtown.  This must be the point where I phase out in blankness with those I love who I know have far superior brains than most and say, "uh-huh."  That is the moment before I start a tangent.  


Now, I've been picking up trash as I walked home since I was a kid.  Long after anyone from the 70s environmental movement stopped caring about the water, I found ways to cut down in the minutia forgoing even straws and lids when finding myself purchasing a drink for a road trip.  Yet when Alex complained that the campers had ruined the grass, I guffawed a BOO-HOO.  How many tons of pollution have these corparistocrats been entitled to dump on our dime at the expense of our health?  For that matter, how many people have downright died at their expense?  And, eh hem, isn't there a song about them ripping out trees just to put up a parking lot?  


Alex, though, was not cemented against or for anything.  I believe, for him, this sentences hung as a slight ponderance in his mind.  Before returning to work, he sent me clearly on my way to where the Occupation once was.   I walked over to these beautiful, still green, but fenced off parks protected by security guards.  Oh, no, wait, they were city cops.  I get them confused.  When I grew up someone taught me that the men in blue were there to protect and serve.  As I got a little older, I began seeing independently hired security guards who kept watch over private property and knew the difference.  Then, as a teen, I'd guess the only difference between them was the caliber of weapons in serving a purpose largely lacking any altruism or heroism.  They're all guns for the cowards in castles.


The depressing site stunned me a bit.  The impression of Portland, which I once fancied very much, soured.  Alex quite poignantly noted that they had to clear the parks for holiday shopping.  The department stores put in a complaint and the government complied.  Yet I found this worse.  You want tourists to come to your city and see four city blocks of beautiful parks banned?  Banned?  Banned.  Banned rather than used for one of the highest of political ideals known to man.  Banned because you don't like the way the tents and people look.  Uh huh.  Well, then, as PUBLIC SERVANTS of THOSE people, get to work on fixing the system.  Geez.  


Unfortunately, no sign indicated where those dissidents might have fled to.  When I returned to the hotel, I attempted, again, to find any information on them online, but still, nothing.  Alex, working for local news, began texting me tons of useful information including a tip that the activists planned to shut down a bridge the next morning at eight.  AHHHHHHHH!  We're leaving at 8AM!  Fidgety and anxious for the remainder of the trip, I wrestled with the decision to skip out on our flight and risk getting arrested in a city I'm merely visiting or head on to Seattle.  Even on the airport shuttle, I hadn't made the decision.  Around 8:30 I could see the police cars at the opposite side of the bridge as we crept by on the freeway.  Traffic still moved and I wondered with remorse what might transpire.  To Seattle.