September 7, 2013

Portland park clear of protesters

Protesters were ordered by Portland Police to leave Congress Square Plaza Friday night.

By Beth Quimby
Staff Writer

Congress Square Plaza, where protesters gathered Friday night in an attempt to stop the sale of the downtown park, remained quiet Saturday.

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Protester "Ares" of Portland, sleeps on the sidewalk in front of Congress Square Plaza before sunrise Saturday in Portland. "Ares" vowed to stay in the plaza through the weekend to protest the sale of the public space.

Joel Page/Staff Photographer

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A message written in chalk protesting the sale of part of Congress Square Plaza.

Joel Page/Staff Photographer

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Protesters erected four tents Friday and intended to stay overnight in the park, but they left when police ordered them to go by 10:30 p.m. because they had no permit to erect tents.

On Saturday morning, one protester said he had stayed overnight in a sleeping bag in Congress Square Plaza and expected others to return later in the day.

By late Saturday afternoon, only a handful of protesters were on hand. They had put up two tents.

And, at 10 p.m., when a trio of Portland police officers arrived, expecting to again have to warn protesters to leave or face arrest, the plaza was empty.

The officers wents through the small plaza, shining flashlights in corners just to make sure no one was trying to get around the ban on sleeping overnight.

The protesters object to a proposal to sell part of the park to Rockbridge Capital, owners of the former Eastland Hotel, for an event center.

Now under renovation, the hotel will reopen as the Westin Portland Harborview Hotel in December.

The Portland City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on the sale.

– Edward D. Murphy contributed to this report.

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Additional Photos

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A pigeon walks past a message written in chalk protesting the sale of part of Congress Square Plaza.

Joel Page/Staff Photographer


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