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Officers begin clearing Occupy ICE camp in SW Portland; no arrests made

Officers have begun clearing an encampment that has been set up outside the ICE facility in southwest Portland since ...

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 2:33 PM
Updated: Jul 25, 2018 2:33 PM

Officers have begun clearing an encampment that has been set up outside the ICE facility in southwest Portland since June.

Portland police officers arrived at the ICE facility just before 4:30 a.m. Wednesday to begin clearing the camp. The Portland Police Bureau said officers moved through the camp in a "methodical and thoughtful manner" and no incidents were reported.

PPB said the Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit (MEDU) and Portland Fire & Rescue were at the scene as a precaution.

The city posted a "notice of intent to clear unlawful campsite" Monday evening and gave people at the Occupy ICE PDX camp until 12 a.m. Wednesday to move.

PPB said a majority of the people at the camp had moved out and taken their belongings since the notice was posted. About 12 people were still at the camp when officers arrived Wednesday morning.

Those who did not leave were subject to citation or arrest. However, police said no one was arrested and no citations were issued Wednesday morning.

Southwest Bancroft Street between Southwest Macadam Avenue to Southwest Bond Avenue is closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic during the clean up. Southwest Moody Avenue between Southwest Bancroft Street to Southwest Lowell Street and Southwest Bond Avenue at Southwest Bancroft Street is also closed.

Officers will assist people traveling through the area, including people with doctor's appointments or on their way to work or home.

Contractors are expected to start coming in about 8 a.m. to start clearing and cleaning up the encampment. The property owners, which includes TriMet, City of Portland, City of Lake Oswego, Metro and ODOT, will pay for the cleanup. They do not have estimate on how much the cleanup will cost.

City workers will collect items of value that have been left behind at the camp and store them. Those items will be available for pick-up until Sept. 1. Anyone seeking to reclaim their property should call Pacific Patrol Services at 503-595-3440.

Since June 17, the protesters have been camped outside the facility on SW Macadam Avenue to protest the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy toward people who are entering the U.S. illegally.

PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw said Wednesday morning that the bureau had received a number of complaints about the camp, and determined last week that the conditions were no longer sustainable. Chief Outlaw said she then spoke with Mayor Ted Wheeler about the conditions and said he was "fully supportive of moving forward to begin plans to clear the camp."

During a brief press conference at City Hall on Monday afternoon, Mayor Ted Wheeler asked the protesters to "peacefully disengage." Wheeler said he stood with those protesting the forced separation of families and thanked the protesters in Portland for bringing national attention to the issue. However, he said the camp itself, especially with its wooden structures, is not sustainable.

Chief Outlaw said while the police action was peaceful Wednesday morning, there is one report of an officer using a baton to push or pull people apart. She said she is looking into that claim.

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