This message was prepared by two participants of the Friday (10/21) meeting with the City Manager and EPD, which started a discussion about suspending the order for arrests on Friday night and finding a viable site for Occupy Eugene.
The meeting that occurred on Friday morning at 11:00 am was solely for the purpose of opening channels of communication between the City of Eugene and Occupy Eugene, and specifically to address the movement of the occupation site. The meeting was not called by the City, the Eugene Police Department, or Occupy Eugene; all groups were expressing a wish to communicate but no official meeting had been scheduled as of 9:30 pm on Thursday evening—if anything, it was you, the community, that prompted the meeting.
All concerned groups—Occupy Eugene, the City of Eugene, EPD, and individual members of the community working for or representing local social justice nonprofits—expressed the desire to “talk” about 1) how to avoid arrests Friday evening; and 2) how to keep the channels of communication open as the movement grows and puts down roots. Again, no one group nor person attempted to do anything other than protect the right of Occupy Eugene to express political speech without courting arrest.
We were in the room during the 10/21 meeting, which included: the City Manager, Officer Kamkar, Police Chief Kerns, five people from Occupy Eugene, four people representing community non-profits who have also been active participants with Occupy Eugene from the very first GA to present, three community mediators, there only to “facilitate” discussion, and one person I do not know. We were present for the entire meeting, and what follows is our recollection of the significant talking points.
- In a verbal message to Legal, the City of Eugene ordered OE to leave the park blocks by 5pm and indicated that it would not tolerate a reoccupation of any site in the City otherwise there would be arrests. Initially, this was the focal point of discussion but it quickly became clear that the city would in fact tolerate a relocation, and that there would be no arrests. However, they wanted to know where OE would move.
- OE representatives refused to divulge the Friday march route or potential occupation site(s). They stated unequivocally that they did not have permission from the GA to divulge the location but that a committee had carefully surveyed possible sites in a series of open meetings.
- No one negotiated anything regarding a future or more permanent site for Occupy Eugene. General discussion about the types of criteria being applied to site selection did happen, but again, the OE representatives did not divulge where Occupy Eugene was moving on Friday afternoon. EPD said they would like to know but they did not press anyone, ever, to divulge that piece of information. All present asked EPD and the City Manager to trust that it would be done respectfully and without violence. The City had been very impressed by the level of organization and safety in the park blocks.
- OE representatives suggested that the City Manager find a way to avoid “enforcement of the camping ordinance” and the “11:00 pm curfew.” The city manager was willing to find a way.
We have not mentioned the names of the individuals present, only because we have not asked their permission to publish their names or the names of their organizations.