Occupy ICE Shutdown Repeats Portland Protest History

by | July 26, 2018

By Hannah Boufford

The Occupy ICE camp that held ground for five weeks outside the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Southwest Portland is not the first time protesters have camped out for weeks on end in protest of national issues.

Almost seven years ago, a sight similar to the ICE encampment lived at Chapman and Lownsdale squares. People in these camps as part of Occupy Portland protested a growing wealth gap in the United States. Protesters began their stay October 6, 2011, and did not leave until police swept the encampment November 13, 2011, following orders from then-Mayor Sam Adams.

Occupy Portland lasted 38 days, just over five weeks. Occupy ICE also lasted 38 days. The Oregonian previously reported the Occupy Portland movement was the longest sustained protest in Portland's history.

The Occupy ICE camp, too, was swept under mayoral orders. Mayor Ted Wheeler announced at a Monday press conference that protesters should leave the camp as it was not sustainable. He said at the press conference he still supported the group's cause, however, and hoped to see the group move onto the next phase of the movement.

His words and their sentiment seemed to echo those of Adams seven years before him.

"I want to make clear: this action is not an action against the Occupy Portland movement," Adams said at a 2011 press conference.

"It is my sincere hope that the movement with its focus on widespread economic inequality will flourish in it's next phase," he would add.

During the press conference, Adams said he believed the Occupy Portland movement would be able to lead the nation in the next phase of the movement. Years later, the Occupy Ice movement in Portland would lead other similar ones across the nation.

(c)2018 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)