The Obama White House ordered federal officials to to stand down-- go easy on--Occupy Portland protesters when they took over Terry Shrunk Plaza in November 2011.
The Occupy Portlanders had taken over two City of Portland parks, Lownsdale and Chapman Squares, but next door, directly in front of Portland's City Hall, is federal property, Terry Shrunk Plaza, which was used and temporarily taken over by Occupiers.
Now, we learn why Portland cops and federal officials didn't take action against the Occupiers who had pretended to "chain" themselves to heavy, cement laden barrels.
According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch through Freedom of Information Act Requests, the Federal Protective Service was ordered to stand down by the Obama Administration's GSA. According to an account by the Washington Examiner:
Former GSA Public Buildings Service Commissioner Robert Peck told a senior Department of Homeland Security official that the federal housekeeping agency had been instructed by the Obama White House to go easy on the Occupy protestors.
In a Nov. 6, 2011, DHS/National Protection and Programs Directorate Chief of Staff Caitlin Durkovich asked GSA's Peck if it was true that his agency had asked Federal Protective Service officials not to take action against the Occupy Portland protestors.
"Yes, that is our position," Peck responded. "It's been vetted with our Administrator and Michael Robertson, our chief of staff, and we have communicated with the WH [White House], which has afforded us the discretion to fashion our approach to Occupy issues.
Judicial Watch has been culling through documents obtained by FOIA requests and uncovered these emails discussing the Occupy Portlanders at Terry Shrunk Plaza:
The records, obtained pursuant to a November 11, 2011, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, include internal DHS correspondence. One November 6, 2011, e-mail exchange between DHS/National Protection and Programs Directorate Chief of Staff Caitlin Durkovich and GSA Public Buildings Service Commissioner Robert Peck (who has since been fired) specifically related to Occupy Portland protests taking place on federal property in Portland:
I am sorry to be emailing you on a Sunday night, but wanted to let you know our Press Shop has received a couple of calls from Portland media outlets about a group of 11 protesters who again set up camp at Terry Shrunk Plaza in Portland last night. They have chained themselves to a large drum filled with concrete. GSA controls the permits and has asked FPS [Federal Protective Services] not to enforce the curfew at park and the prohibition on overnight encampments. Reporters have asked if we will be arresting the protestors as FPS did last week.Our FPS Commander in Portland says they are standing down and following GSA’s request to only intervene if there is a threat to public safety.Peck responds:
Caitlin: yes, that is our position; it’s been vetted with our Administrator and Michael Robertson, our chief of staff, and we have communicated with the WH [White House], which has afforded us the discretion to fashion our approach to Occupy issues…The arrests last week were carried out despite our request that the protesters be allowed to remain and to camp overnight…
it's not clear if the Feds tried to pressure Portland into letting the Occupy Portland overstay their welcome at the other two parks. The downtown area was "occupied" by tents, lean-to's, outhouses and urine filled jars for weeks. The Parks weren't habitable for citizens to use for 224 days.
At the time Portland cops told the media the feds were going to go easy on Occupiers at the federal Shrunk Plaza, but it wasn't widely know the order came from the White House. Here's an excerpt from the Zero at the time:
Sgt. Pete Simpson, Portland police spokesman, said the Federal Protective Service will decide whether or not to arrest the protesters. A news release from Portland police states that the Federal Protective Service is "choosing to not take enforcement action" against them at this time.The concrete barrel incident occurred just days before police swept the Occupiers out of the two Portland public parks.
Although the protesters have not been violent toward other people, police said they have been violating park rules. Last week, 10 campers were arrested after refusing to leave Terry Schrunk Plaza, where they're allowed to stay only until 10 p.m.
I'll have more tomorrow.