Occupy Portland marks one-year anniversary

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by Erica Heartquist

KREM.com

Posted on October 7, 2012 at 10:06 AM

PORTLAND --This weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the start of the Occupy Portland movement.

To recognize the date, occupiers hit the streets of downtown Portland Saturday to march. Just one year ago, thousands hit Portland's streets to march with the occupy movement.

Chanting "we are the 99 percent," the group opposed government policies and big corporations that they blamed for rewarding the super-rich while leaving others, the so-called 99-percent, by the wayside.

Protesters pitched tents last year at Chapman and Lownsdale squares. Thirty-eight days later, Portland Police forced them out.

This Saturday, a much smaller Occupy Portland group marched through downtown to protest the 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, and one year since the start of the Occupy Portland movement.

Occupy protesters were joined by members of more than 60 different organizations, which were also part of Saturday's march.

"It's called Occupy Portland not Afghanistan. We're out here demanding the money come back here to the US and be used for jobs, job re-training, housing, health care, all the things that we feel like we're going broke on are because we're at war," said Glenn Silbersdorff, an Occupy Portland volunteer.

Unlike some of the past protests, the group obtained a permit for Saturday's march. The occupiers said they want people to know that even though a year has gone by, they're still very much in the public eye.

"Just because we're not camped out anymore doesn't mean we're gone," said Silbersdorff.

"People always say 'what happened to Occupy because its less visible outside?' " said Daniel Hong with the movement.

Hong said the movement has been working to legitimize itself like a political organization by having a permanent meeting space. But, he said that doesn't mean an end to marches like the one Saturday.

"While we have been very active inside, it's our time to shine outdoors and dust off our signs," he said.

Silbersdorff added that there's another march scheduled for Saturday, November 3rd to draw attention to school cuts, library cuts and cuts to public workers' salaries.

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