Protesters are gone from two Portland parks where they'd been camped out for more than a month.
Occupy Portland –- as we've known it –- ended over the weekend with more than 50 arrests. Portland police chief Mike Reese addressed the "end of the occupation" Monday afternoon at police headquarters.
"It was time for us to do something different. From that perspective, I think moving people out and allowing the parks' bureau to begin the restoration of the parks was the right thing to do," said Chief Reese.
Observers are applauding how police and protesters handled the tense standoff. In the wee hours Sunday morning, police officers and demonstrators with the Occupy Portland movement stood nose-to-nose. Police gave instructions while protesters stood their ground.
Portland State University professor of conflict resolution, Tom Hastings, was at Occupy Portland during those tense morning hours. He feared a police crackdown. He says he was worried authorities might justify it, based on the criminal element reported in the camps.
"I was afraid that since the movement had not always policed itself that they were inviting whatever police reaction might come," said Hastings.
In the end, police cited at least 52 people. One protester and one officer had to be treated for injuries. But physical confrontations were limited.
And Monday afternoon, Lownsdale and Chapman squares echoed with the sounds of traffic, and parks officials cleaning the Main Street fountain.
Observers from various perspectives say the police and protesters both helped to calm tensions – and the public should realize that.
"I think they'll give credit to both sides, but here's the thing – the Occupy side is really diffuse, and in effect, it's hard to give credit to anybody there, because no one stepped forward to be a leader," said Jim Moore, Pacific University political scientist.
Moore said it's much easier to give positive grades to officials, like Mayor Sam Adams or to police chief – and potential mayoral candidate – Mike Reese.
"The most important thing is that it did not stop the idea of 'Reese for Mayor.' This is what's happened in other cities: the chief of police has come in and become the bad guy in moving the protesters out, and that did not happen at this point," said Moore.
Occupy Portland members have scheduled a General Assembly for Monday evening, when they expect to decide their next steps. Portland State professor Tom Hastings says he's already talked to students who are part of the movement.
His advice to them is simple: "Declare victory and tell the people you want to recruit why you have a victory. Then, you basically retreat and begin to strategize, and you re-define yourself, but this time, hopefully, don't put the cart before the horse, put the horse before the cart."
Hastings means that Occupy Portland should fashion specific goals and build a coalition around those – rather than attract members first and deal with policy questions later.
Occupy Portland's tactical decision to camp in downtown Portland drew lots of attention to the movement, but drew lots of criticism, as well, from the business sector among others. The Portland Business Alliance asked the city weeks ago to intervene, and is happy the parks are open again.
Megan Doern is business alliance spokeswoman.
"We hope that the group's ongoing protests continue in that same peaceful manner, and that they do it in coordination with the city, so everybody who works and lives and enjoys downtown can continue to do," said Doern.
Political observers like Hastings and Jim Moore say the way Occupy Portland's first phase ended has already made a statement. "Twenty years ago, Portland was known as Beirut on the Willamette, because when –- especially Republican candidates, or the President would come –- Portland became a 'battle zone' with protesting."
This type of protesting that we've seen in the past several weeks and the end of it, says that we're no longer Beirut, we're actually kind of a model for how to negotiate these things that the rest of the country might want to pay attention to," said Moore.
Moore says whether the movement itself will have a broader effect on Wall Street, or issues of income disparity, may depend more on what happens outside of Portland, in places like New York City.