Occupy Portland camp recently. (You can see a more legible version of it here.) The source of the flier is unknown.
Apparently, the problems I noticed several weeks ago have not been resolved. In fact, according to this flier they have only been exacerbated by the influx of homeless or deranged people.
Having been down there a number of times, I can tell you that the vibe during the daytime is much different than that at night. During the day, everything seems orderly and peaceful. At night, there is a palpable sketchiness. I'm not easily shaken, but I was definitely on edge on the occasion of my second nighttime visit to the camp.
And thinking back on my Sunday chat with some of the long-term Occupiers, I believe I may have detected uncertainty in some of their remarks, as if they are troubled by recent developments.
As the flier urgently suggests, for the movement to succeed, it must be sustainable. And the reality is that, here in Portland (or, Little Beirut, if you will) there are too many people crowded into too small a space with too few sanitation facilities. The flier proposes that the camp be moved to a different, more suitable site. Where that might be, I cannot guess.
It all adds up to some pretty big problems facing this protest movement --a movement that I believe is vitally important.
Well, after all, large scale social, economic, and political reforms aren't going to come about just because a group of disgruntled folks set up tents in city parks. The road that we're undertaking is bound to be long and hard. And, more than anything, the robber barons and plutocrats must never believe that we can be dissuaded and discouraged when things get messy.
The movement is facing its first crisis. Let's see where it goes from here...