PORTLAND — City officials are meeting with members of Occupy Maine this afternoon about health and safety issues in Lincoln Park, including criminal arrests and other disturbances.

The city inspected the park last week for fire and other safety issues now that about 60 tents and dozens of people are staying there. The city had indicated – and protesters agreed – that the protesters would need to address safety issues if they were going to continue to stay into the winter.

On Friday, police charged two men with assaulting another demonstrator. One of them was charged  with aggravated assault for using the blunt end of a hatchet, sending the victim to the hospital.

Some city officials aren’t content to let the protesters stay indefinitely. Councilor Cheryl Leeman said in an email to fellow councilors and Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck that she wants the demonstrators to leave.

“For me, that’s it!! Time to formulate a plan for transitioning folks out of the park with a specific deadline,” she said. “This has gone way beyond ‘free speech,’ it has become an unauthorized tent city . . .”

Leeman was responding to an update by Sauschuck on the discovery of two teen runaways from Buxton who were found over the weekend. The 14-year-old girls were found staying in a sewer pipe on the Eastern Prom where they had been staying for two nights. Police had been led there by a 22-year-old male Saturday afternoon.

Police determined that the two girls had spent the first two nights in Lincoln Park but with police and their parents looking for them there regularly, they moved to the Eastern Prom.

The summary says the girls were “cold, tired and hungry” but unhurt and were reunited with their families.

John Branson, an attorney representing Occupy Maine protesters, said Leeman may have misunderstood Sauschuck’s summary, since it clearly said the teenagers were not found at Occupy Maine and that the group tried to help locate them. Branson said he was upset that press reports suggesting the girls were found in Lincoln Park, including in the Portland Press Herald, had not been corrected by police.

“These girls found out those at Occupy Maine were leading the effort to find these girls,” he said. “It was an Occupy Maine person who first alerted the police these girls were hanging around camp. They left when they knew we would contact police.”

Occupy Maine announced on its Facebook page that some members are planning a march from Lincoln Park to City Hall to coincide with the meeting with city officials.