(KMTR) – At its fourth location in just one week, Occupy Eugene protestors have landed another temporary spot, following hours of negotiating with the University of Oregon
Occupy Eugene protestors have set up an occupation now at the park in the Millrace area, alongside Franklin Boulevard between east 11th Avenue and Onyx Streets.
Protestors and UO administrators met for about six hours on Thursday night, October 27th, 2011, over where an occupation would be allowed. While protestors were ready to occupy the UO’s Memorial Quad, administrators said it would be too disruptive to the college’s core mission of learning and research.
Around Thursday night, the two groups struck a deal with the Millrace site. By , the UO says only one protestor remained in the quad area and was not disruptive.
Even though Eugene City Councilors voted to approve camping at the Alton Baker Park site, protestors say the location was insecure and in turn, pushing many people away.
The group is hoping to refocus at the Millrace site.
“We're going to be in a good place to get ourselves together and most importantly, I want to make this a place for families to feel safe and comfortable to come down cause, we're not here just to be a camp to ourselves, we're here to like... Extend ourselves into the community,” says Scotty Perry, an Occupy Eugene protestor.
The group is also trying to differentiate itself from its occupations and a “camp site.”
In a statement released Friday, Occupy Eugene protestors say,
“It bears clarification: Occupy Eugene is not a campground. We occupy public space because the occupation is the message. We believe that regular citizens have been disenfranchised in our current political climate, where corporations and wealthy individuals are able to unduly influence our political process. Because of this influence, regular citizens have been deprived of our ability to have an affect on the workings of our government. As a last resort, we are exercising our First Amendment rights to assemble peaceably and petition our government for redress of grievances. By placing our bodies in public space, we are able to make our voices heard. We feel there is no other option available - the occupation is the message.”
At least 100 people are camping at the Millrace site. But as part of the deal, the UO says the protestors cannot stay later than on Monday, October 31st, 2011.
“We have a long history of encouraging people to exchange ideas freely, we have no problem with that at all. The problem we had is turning this campus into a campground, and for us those are two very different kinds of issues,” says Phil Weiler, a spokesman for the University of Oregon.
“Our hats are off to the Occupy Eugene movement for listening to our concerns and being able to take action in way that helped us achieve our mission,” says Weiler.
While the Occupation is happening, the UO is providing lighting equipment, generators, port-a-potties and rides from the Department of Public Safety to the park, all for free.
As for what happens next and a future location, protestors say they’ll decide on that soon in a general assembly meeting. Currently, those meetings happen every day at and