Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Occupy Portland - An ugly premonition
I took a stroll down to the Occupy Portland demonstration again this evening. What a difference a day makes! I spent about an hour wandering around the encampment and it quickly became apparent that things are going downhill fast. The lack of identifiable leaders and organizational structure is starting to manifest itself.
The Portland police are a visible presence at the camp. And I was glad to see them there, frankly. There was a noticeable "sketchiness" to the entire scene.
The camp has attracted a lot of homeless deranged people. You know? The poor souls who hang out under the eastern terminus of the Hawthorne Bridge, or down along Burnside in Old Town. Who can blame them for infiltrating the camp and getting in line for a free meal? No one is turned away. The influx is overwhelming the fragile cooperative infrastructure that I saw yesterday. And the ratio of rational, purposeful protesters to indigent homeless folks is diminishing.
If sanitation isn't already an issue, it soon will be. There are too many people and too few facilities. Tents are pitched literally side by side and everything is wet from the rains.
I'm in sympathy with the movement, believe me, but there are some big problems looming. Putting aside all my hippie-dippie "power to the people" sentiments, I don't see how this demonstration can last very long.
I don't know how it is with the other "Occupy" demonstrations throughout the country, but this one is in trouble. Anarchy is threatening.
If there is a solution, I don't see it. No matter what happens, though, these demonstrations have awoken something in the national zeitgeist. At least I hope so.