Dear Occupy Portland: How do you deal with sanitation? How do you deal with tobacco smoking? With getting 800 people showers. We have lots of homeless and self identified street youth who are participating and putting energy in at some level. But the problem is that many of these "demographic profiles" are unskilled in communication or work skills. They freely avail themselves of cooked meals and a protected 24/7 Occupy Eugene. At another "demographic profile", the community support from Eugene is encouraging. Donations and statements of support from labor, local politicians, and other activist community groups are coming in.
But in the middle, the more experienced on-site Occupy Eugene activists are getting fatigued. I wouldn't use the term "burned out". Because the committed activists are given energy by the general growth and the personal care shown by other acivists. They are just getting tired with little time to eat or sleep, and need to have their own ranks increase since some have dropped out for various reasons -- including problems caused by fighting, tobacco, alchohol, and a handfull of mentally and emotionally challenged individuals who have astonishing energy to disrupt and demand constant attention. They rufuse sleeping bags and tents and wonder talking to themselfs and acting eratically. The police, mental volunteer agency CAHOOTS, and the city jail detain these indivuals nightly. And in the day they deposit the same indivuals right back to Occupy Eugene, or the indivudals walk back on their own. Since Occupy Eugene is REALLY going out to show kindness, intelligence, and care with these individuals.
On a postive note, a large demonstration of teachers from the Oregon Education Association and other union supporters rallyed and marched to the old federal building in Eugene yesterday. The teachers march included those with signs supporting "We Are the 99%" and "Occupy Eugene supports Labor". Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, Congressman Peter Defazio, and U of O labor professor (?) Laferrty addressed the rally and all gave their endorsement, or at least some verbal acknowledgment to to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
On a lighter note, "Nearby Nature", a local children's environmental group had (unbeknown to us) months ago scheduled the two large shelters for 500 pre-registered elementary school children and their parents to carve pumpkins saturday and tour 6 "critters" stations. The traditional yearly route for the Critters Stations, where costumed adults were dressed as a bird, bear, racoon, spider, etc., wound through the gentill rolling hills and grassly meadows where are some 150 personal tents, and a few community self identified "street youth" encampments, are located. The children in other words would be winding through our "bohemian" acting camp after dark
Nearby Nature worked with us all day. We moved dozens of structures out of their staging area. They changed the route of their Critter Tour entirely. We moved our parking area. They emergency re-oriented their volunteers. Roundy perhaps enebrianted individuals from our camp charged down the hillside, reportedly with no particular politics (certainly not "anarchists") three individuals tore down the the thin and quickly set up rope and reflectve tape barrier set up between Occupy Eugene and Nearby nature and positioned to disrupt the punpkin carving. No one knows why these few indivduals wanted to harrase the children and their parents. The individuals were young teeenagers -- but other than that acted anonamously. If pumpkins had been smashed and children injured, we would have been castigated in the media, and probably evicted last night by hundreds of riot squad officers. But the bottom line was, our dinner time and General Assembly and their Pumpkin Carving and Critter tour both came off with haunting success.
Please keep up the posts on what is going on in Portland.
-- Liam Kellen