A colleague of mine in the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (#ChaplainsOccupyPDX) wrote the following letter to Portland Mayor Sam Adams following the weekend eviction of Occupy Portland.
Dear Mayor Adams,
I write with a heavy heart this morning, as I reflect on the actions taken by the Portland police dept on Sunday in particular.
As a Pastor at a local church, The Bridge, serving as an Occupy Chaplain, I have had much time the last few weeks to observe and talk to not only the Occupiers, the homeless who found a home, but the police who patrolled the camp. In that time I have not seen anything but an honest attempt to try and make the best of an awkward situation. Saturday afternoon, as we cleaned up the Sacred Space area I was reminded by officers and by strangers on the street, that we all are part of the 99%.
Saturday night, I was nervous that some knucklehead itching for a fight would spark a riot. Instead, the knucklehead who did show up was quickly vomited from the crowd with chants that “we are nonviolent.” There was no riot. I am convinced in my heart that both sides in this standoff on Saturday wanted the same thing… peace.
Sunday is a different story, and I hope at some point soon you will explain to me and others in the city who are concerned with what we saw as unnecessary force on the part of the Portland police department. We all witnessed the “knucklehead” get exposed from the Occupy group Sat night, will the city now do the same for the “knucklehead” who prompted the pushing, shoving and arrests on Sunday that initiated from the side of the police?
Unlike other cities dealing with Occupy camps, you Mr. Mayor had done an incredible job of building trust and showing a willingness to work with a diverse group of people. I feel that trust has been broken, and it does cause me to grieve as it seems so unnecessary.
I would ask that those who were arrested Sunday, have those arrests revoked and their records to be expunged.
This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains or The Bridge.
Donna Van Horn
Co-Pastor at The Bridge Christian Church of Portland