portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article portland metro

actions & protests | labor

Less "leniency" for unpermitted marches

Story from today's Mercury about unpermitted marches
Permitting freedom
Mayor Katz issued a statement last week calling for a change in the way Portland responds to political protests. Nearly two years ago, city hall first announced an unofficial policy for allowing unpermitted parades and protests without permits. When organizers for the 2001 May Day parade refused to take out a permit, city hall declared a de facto policy that allows political demonstrations to carry on without permits. But police complained after the August 22 demonstration against President Bush. They claimed that without a permit they had no way to estimate attendance and were not prepared for the size of the crowd. Although Katz has said she is unwilling to ban all unpermitted demonstrations, last week's announcement was clearly a warning to organizers of demonstrations that they will no longer receive as much leniency. Activist Brian Thomas, a graphic designer and former Katz supporter who attended the August 22 protest, finds the mayor's statement emblematic of her push to "purify" downtown. "I fear that Vera Katz's new restrictions against loitering and protests without permits is an attempt to make downtown feel like Lake Oswego," said Thomas. Mayor Katz's communications director, Sarah Bott, was unwillig to clarify the mayor's statements or answer questions about possible implications of the new policies, mentioning that she had found past Mercury coverage of the mayor "questionable." Anna Bond

homepage: homepage: http:///portlandmercury.com

how quickly one becomes an activist 03.Oct.2002 14:16

Brian Thomas

I'm the individual quoted in the above article. The reporter scoured Portland Indymedia for reports from individuals who had attended the A22 protest and had left an e-mail link. By the time she got to me she was desperate for a response.

I'm glad that the Portland Mercury wrote about this issue. I'm not upset, but just amused by the way I was pigeon-holed as an activist and a graphic artist when I very cleared described myself as something else.

--- here is an excerpt from the reply I sent Anna Bond:

"I'm more mainstream than a lot of the folks you'll encounter on Portland Indymedia. I'm a Democrat, even if, lately, I'm a very "stirred up Democrat." I've voted for Vera Katz every chance I've had. I won't vote for her again. ...

"So what do I fear Vera's new regulation means. I fear that if the city can make mainstream people like myself afraid to join protests they can provoke the radicals to violence and marginalize them. That is why I am trying to attend more demonstrations. That in particular is why I joined Critical Mass last Friday.

"If you want my occupation, I am a digital artist and you might find it useful to check out my web site. The page below links to profusely illustrated reports on the A22 and last Friday's Critical Mass:

 http://www.rivertext.com/stuff.html

---- end of excerpt from letter to Anna Bond

[ "provoke the radicals to violence" isn't expressed very well. I don't mean that all those who consider themselves radicals are prone to violence. my apologies.]

I'll see you this Saturday October 5th in the South Park Blocks at noon.