It was a rough night for the #Occupy Portland loons. It wasn’t the cops and their pepper spray that chased them from their squatters camp. It was a gang of skateboarding drug dealers.
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Apparently just a little more than two hours ago, according to a handful of downcast occupiers huddling at nearby Director Park, Occupy Portland’s would-be reoccupation packed up in a hurry after drug dealers—and not more riot cops swinging batons—showed up with the promise of a clash.
I showed up about an hour and a half after the reported incident went down. About 15 people were sitting on the benches in Director Park, the movement’s most recent home for its general assemblies and spokes council meetings, with the remnants of today’s food. And many were decidedly unhappy—with what happened, and how occupiers either responded or didn’t.
Talk among some at Director Park was that drug dealers wielding skateboards surged in, ate some food, and spat in some occupiers’ faces while demanding they leave. Some reports said they were gang members, but that’s not confirmed. Either way, the campers packed up and boogied out, hoping to avoid more violence, which had some like Dog Mike, an organizer of the reoccupation, complaining that it looked like the movement was more willing to “kowtow” to drug dealers and not the city.
“All those people who were out here at 3 am dancing need to decide if it’s our park,” he said. “You’re willing to get beat up by riot cops, but you’re not willing to get beat up by gang members?”
Said another occupier, Troy Thompson, the guy who was arrested last night after scaling the second-floor roof of city hall and erecting a Guy Fawkes Christmas tree. “We could smash ’em back, but what would that do to our movement? We’re not another street gang. We’re not here for a gang war.”
But another occupier who said she watched the confrontation argued it wasn’t as violent as some were claiming. Yes, some face-spitting happened, but only after a lone dealer—a pot dealer—asked the lingering campers to please leave and keep the police away from his previous place of business.