GA Minutes 10/31/11

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GA Minutes 10/31/11

Postby breathedeep » Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:03 pm

by Christina Ipri

Occupy Eugene GA Notes from Monday, October 3, 2011 at Millrace


Committee reports
Discussion on future location Occupy Eugene

Facilitation team:

Tree, lead facilitator
John, co-facilitator
Moya, vibes checker
Michael Carrigan, sign holder (note taker did not hear his name)
Christina, note taker

An estimated 50 or 60 people are attending tonight’s GA.

Review of hand signals used in meetings.

Committee Reports
Jesse, Medical, requests donations of warm items like blankets, gloves, hats, and socks, as well as something for hernia support for a specific OE member in need. Medical tent hours are 8 am to 11 pm; please find Jesse in his tent next to the medical tent if you need help overnight.

Jan, Finance, asks that members submit donations at the Medical booth or Info booth and that they complete a form at the Info booth for a request of funds for expenses and reimbursements.

Lauren, Communications, announces a meeting on Wednesday, November 2 at 3 pm to plan for Bank Transfer Day. Live Stream subcommittee reports that a battery pack has been donated in support of having a live feed of GAs.

Facilitation asks for additional volunteers. More members are needed for facilitation and auxiliary facilitation duties such as keeping stack, holding signs, checking vibes, and taking notes.

Peacekeeper announces a meeting later this week to discuss grounding and peer support. The note taker regrets not hearing the name of this member or the time and date of the meeting.

Bobby, Education Alliance, says that marchers spoke with students and faculty during today’s march at UO; reports that a UO professor will bring a group of at least 100 students to the Occupy site at Mill Race tomorrow at 9 am; encourages more people to march; and reports that members of this committee will attend the Student Body Senate on Wednesday to request support for Occupy Eugene.

Kristen, Action, reports that two different action committees exist and discusses the need for these groups to merge. Also, the info booth now has a computer with Internet access.

General announcements:

Eugene city council met at noon today and withdrew camping exemption at Alton Baker. She encourages us to return to the site for clean-up.
Occupy Wall Street has applied for patent of its name.

For consideration: Where could Occupy Eugene be located?
Jamil talked about sites that have been considered in the past.

Fairgrounds–it is not city property, usage conflicts would arise
Rose Garden–support in the community and water available at site, but it’s an undefined area lacking natural borders
Skinner City farm at Skinner Butte–mentioned by city officials as possible site, but there’s low visibility and lighting, there are plans to develop there
Civic Stadium–(discussion was too fast and brief)
Amazon, Hendricks, Jacobs, Westmoreland–the city doesn’t want us to use city parks

Presentations on Occupy Eugene’s possible future sites under active consideration:

Mill Race (presenter unknown to note taker)–Pros: we’re already here; there’s high visibility; drivers honking in support have boosted morale; UO is across the street, and EmX stations, downtown, and financial district are nearby; electricity access is possible; we have potable water, porta-potty service, wheelchair accessibility, good drainage, free WiFi, trees, free parking, space for infrastructure, shelter from wind, lighting, grass (which is comfortable). Cons: UO doesn’t want us, which may mean conflict with police; parking is more limited in the daytime; traffic and facilities plant noise is a problem; with rain, grass gets soggy and storm water becomes an issue; loading and unloading vehicles is challenging; we have no greywater disposal; mosquitoes could be a problem in summer; we expect an ultimatum from UO tomorrow, and we can assume UO will take away its resources

8th and Pearl, Genevieve–Features of site: junction box for power, one fire hydrant for water, storm drains, asphalt, bathrooms at City Hall may be available during the week, Eugene Police Department is located across the street, ample size, pay meter and permit parking, lower visibility and traffic than Park Blocks*, city owned, operated by Diamond Parking, expansion into Park Blocks feasible. Further research is needed to determine whether we’d have greywater disposal on site. This site has been recommended by a city council member who wants to remain anonymous. It is unclear whether this site is a long-term option. *A meeting attendee offered a correction; she says that traffic statistics indicate that 9000 cars per day pass 8th and Pearl, while 6000 pass Park Blocks.

Washington Jefferson Park South (between 6th and 7th Avenues), Derek–Pros: the police and city manager recommended it to us; there’s access to electricity and two drains with downslopes; we should have support for water; this block of the park does not seem to have the same degree of drug problems and crime as the northern block between 4th and 5th Avenues; support for Occupy Eugene is expected in the Whiteaker, including possibilities of having some neighbors offer us “oases”, such as indoor meeting spaces and access to shower facilities; a large volume of traffic passes by on city streets, as well as on 126, 99, 105; it is a very large space (about three times larger than Mill Race), well-lit by street lights but with some tree cover to shield sleepers from bright light, close to public bathrooms, restaurants, Red Barn, Red Apple, River Research Park, Park Blocks, a picnic area and playground; we may be able to expect city support to make our camp safe; the owner of the car dealership across the street is supportive; engineering is optimistic that they can improve foundation and drainage issues; and we may be able to build with the help of landscape architects. We should have no difficulty procuring portable potties for this site. Cons: carbon monoxide levels may be elevated there; concerns over safety issues in this space exist in the OE community, including reports of gangs, drug cartels, and discarded drug needles in the park; the train is very loud; overnight parking is not permitted in the perimeter overnight; no shower facilities are in the park.

Open discussion yielded the following comments:

Staying at Mill Race longer than UO wants us would be a strategic error. UO could be an ally to us. Also, we told UO that our stay at Mill Race was temporary and needed to escape Alton Baker Park.

City planners have expressed willingness to work with our engineering committee.

Let’s be thoughtful, unhurried, democratic, and transparent in our process.

Occupy Eugene is a protest, not just an encampment.

People need to eat and sleep to have a protest.

Tonight’s GA should not make a decision about our future location, as tonight is Halloween and many people are celebrating, not in attendance.

We need to make this decision tonight because UO wants to know where we plan to camp next and is eager that we leave, and soon. Legal/Research needs this information to better negotiate how long UO will allow Occupy Eugene to remain at Mill Race. Legal team hopes to negotiate as much time as possible, so that we have the benefit of more time to prepare for our next move.

If we make a decision tonight, we should expect tomorrow evening’s GA attendees to have concerns and want to express them.

Test for consensus yields near consensus on Washington Jefferson, with six stand asides, and no blocks. The stand asides are Vin, Brad, Rob, Christina, Finn, and Jeremy.

Brad is worried that some people consenting are uninformed and agreeing with the majority. He has concerns about safety and potential turf wars. He also thinks that, if we go to WJ without a clear plan, members will be frightened, stop donations, and leave the group. Discussion around Brad’s concerns included a feeling that Whiteaker neighbors would help us keep Washington Jefferson safe and to clean it up.
Rob is concerned that the group may be rushing into something that will fracture us. Discussion around Rob’s concerns includes a feeling that the group will not be able to stay together if UO asks us to leave with little notice, say tomorrow, and we do not know where we are going.
Christina’s stand aside is determined to be an abstention and not due to disagreement or based on concerns that could be addressed at the GA.

(The note taker regrets that, despite trying to record each and every stand aside by name, most speakers did not identify themselves before speaking. There was much overlap in stand aside concerns and their discussion, which was fast-paced, sometimes tense, and emotional. There was much crosstalk and moving around.)

General discussion on group concerns:
UO does not want us long term. Knowing where we are going gives us leverage with UO in negotiating how long we stay.
Some would like to reassess Washington Jefferson as our encampment in anticipation of Saturday Market ending in November.
The unknown always involves risk.

After much discussion on the concerns of members standing aside and others, checking in for unexpressed or unaddressed concerns, and the proposal of a friendly amendment, GA reaches consensus, with only Brad remaining a stand aside, and no blocks, that Occupy Eugene will relocate to Washington Jefferson Park at a date to be determined through negotiation with the university and that we will reassess this decision after a period of nine days from today.
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