October 13, 2011 in Region

Portland ralliers split on call to clear street

Associated Press photo

Protester Steve Salazar cleans up at the Occupy Portland camp in Portland on Wednesday.
(Full-size photo)

PORTLAND – Protesters in Portland supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement have split into two groups as authorities called for the clearance of a downtown street that has been closed by the rallies.

Some of the activists agreed to clear off Main Street, which divides two parks that have become a tent city since the movement took hold in Portland last week. But a handful of protesters remained in the road, some sitting on a hay bale, another on a chair.

“We’re going to take Main Street no matter what,” a protester shouted into a bullhorn, as a pair of police officers on bicycles stood watch nearby. “We are prepared to be arrested.”

But Occupy Portland activists distanced themselves from the faction in the street.

“All I want to say is that it is not the intention of Occupy Portland to continue to block the street,” protester Owen Sanders said.

The crowd at the Occupy Seattle protest grew Wednesday after several hundred students from Seattle colleges including the University of Washington marched to join the downtown demonstration.

The group later marched to City Hall, then headed back to Westlake Park.

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