PORTLAND – Occupy Maine says it plans to file a detailed response by next Tuesday to a City Hall inquiry on how the protesters camping out in Lincoln Park will deal with winter and prevent damage to the park’s grounds and trees.

In a preliminary email, Occupy Maine told the city Tuesday it has two nurses providing medical care at its Lincoln Park encampment, that it may seek permission to burn a woodstove in the winter, and that it will raise funds to cover the costs of caring for the park.

OccupyMaine also announced that it wants residents to come to an open house on Saturday, an event protesters are billing as the “Lincolnshire Town Festival and Renaissance Fair.”

Nicole Clegg, the city’s spokeswoman, said officials are awaiting next week’s more detailed response from protesters to concerns about the health and safety at the encampment and park conditions.

“We want to make sure they have plans for staying warm this winter,” Clegg said. “Our primary concern is their safety.”

Clegg said the city sent an email to Occupy Maine on Nov. 1, just two days after an early snowstorm knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in Maine.

“Now that the city had its first snowstorm of the winter, city staff would like to make sure that the group is prepared for the cold temps that a Maine winter can throw at us,” the city’s email said.

The email also asked that Occupy Maine outline its plans for responding to fire, safety and emergency medical issues, as well as its plans for staying warm and for stewardship of the park.

“We’ve made it clear that we understand the city’s concerns, which is the welfare of the people in the encampment,” said John Branson, a Portland lawyer who has volunteered to serve as Occupy Maine’s legal counsel. Occupy Maine and other movements across the country are protesting corporate greed and unequal distribution of wealth.

Branson said it took the group a week to respond to the city’s request for information because the encampment operates as a democracy in which there are no clearly defined leaders.

“That’s by design, which means it will take us a lot longer for a decision to be made,” Branson explained. “We operate on a consensus basis.”

In its preliminary response to the city, OccupyMaine said it has met on numerous occasions to discuss issues related to cold weather.

In addition to its on-site medical personnel, the encampment says a number of protesters have first-aid training. They have also been taught the basics of cold-weather survival by wilderness school instructors.

The email says the encampment will continue to observe a city rule that it have no open pit fires and that it not burn wood or wood pellets. However, the email mentions that Occupy Maine may seek city permission to operate a closed woodstove for warmth.

Occupy Maine has erected a couple of sturdier tents that can be used as warming huts. Protesters have also complied with city regulations governing trash removal and recycling, and say they washed dirty dishes at the nearby Unitarian Universalist Church.

Occupy Maine said it has tried to keep the park, which is in front of the Cumberland County courthouse, as clean as possible. The group has raked lawns and kept straw down on muddy areas.

“We have agreed to create a separate financial account for current and future stewardship of the park and raise funds for that specific purpose,” OccupyMaine’s email said.

Its members have also agreed to meet with the city’s arborists to make sure the park’s trees are not damaged. Occupy Maine has erected about 35 tents in the park.

Branson said the public is invited to attend the Lincolnshire Town Festival and Renaissance Fair on Saturday. It will begin at 11 a.m. and run into the evening hours.

On its Facebook page, Occupy Maine says visitors to the fair will be able to meet with protesters, tour the dining hall and the Troy Davis Memorial Library, and see its spiritual healing center, otherwise known as the Om Dome. Minstrels will perform ballads and costumes will be provided.

“It’s our first effort to welcome the residents of greater Portland into our community and to answer their questions,” Branson said.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: [email protected]