Occupy Gathers in West Portland

The ongoing initiative to bring the Occupy movement out into the community has landed on Portland's West Side, and the results are resounding. After the November 17 eviction from Chapman and Lownsdale Squares, Occupy Portland activists branched out into the community far and wide to keep the Occupiers together and continue their work. In solidarity with Occupy Portland, Occupy Together, and with Occupy Wall Street, local businesses and Portland residents have stepped up to provide Occupiers with workspace, shelter, supplies, and other necessities they need to continue the work of the movement.

One of the new initiatives was to bring Occupy to local neighborhoods within Portland. The city is divided into North (N), Northwest (NW), Southwest (SW), Southeast (SE), and Northeast (NE) sections. Community meetings were held in the past week for the N/NE neighborhoods, SE, and NW/SW, which was called the West Portland Occupy Assembly. West Portland is considered to be the more affluent section of the city, and also contains the skyscrapers of Downtown Portland. It is also the site of the original Occupy encampment, and divided by the Willamette River from the East side of Portland.

The Willamette is both a physical and physiological barrier between East and West Portland, and at West Portland Occupy, the delineation was apparent as well. The meeting was held at the Northwest branch of the Multnomah County Library on NW 23rd Ave., a trendy and 'yuppie' area of Portland. The Occupy event attracted a host of new interest from the community, with a total of about 40-plus local residents in attendance. What made the largest difference, however, was the demographics of the West Side group: While the public considers the Occupy Portland protestors to be predominantly disgruntled, under-employed youth with financial struggles, the meeting here was attended almost exclusively by professional men and women of means over the age of 50.

The topics brought up at the meeting were both very neighborhood-specific in nature and at least initially quite different than those brought up at other Occupy meetings. And they had a completely new issue to discuss as well: How to best share the comparatively vast amount of connections, money, time, and other resources with the Occupiers and residents of East Portland. The lesson learned is that the East and West sides have different strengths to bring to the table, and each can benefit from cultivating a relationship with the other.

And this is the new direction of Occupy: Straight into your community.

Indeed, Occupy is for everyone.

Published by Cate Patricolo

Cate is a Lead Writer/ Publicist and Co-Founder/CEO of Dragonfly Discovery. A native Portlander, local artist, outdoor enthusiast, dulcimer player, dancer, yogini & political activist, her passions include b...  View profile