Occupy Portland in Jamison Square and, The First Amendment.

Photo by Sarah Mirk of the Portland Mercury 

I’m watching the news coverage of Occupy Portland in Jamison Square. The media has been asked to leave the park, and the protesters remain.

I’m a huge fan of the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment protects our right to peaceably assemble, protects our freedom of speech, etc. I have absolutely no issue with these “Occupy” groups expressing their opinions.

This is my issue: since when does the Bill of Rights give people the right to break laws intended to apply to everyone?

The Occupy Portland folks are already camping in two of Portland’s downtown parks. As far as I know, camping in downtown parks is illegal. If it wasn’t, I imagine our homeless population would be pitching tents down there regularly. Jamison Square closes at midnight, but from what I can see on TV, the protest persists in that park.

Maybe I’m being too logical here… The “Occupy” group should have the right to protest. During the day. They can protest all day, go home at night, and come back first thing the next morning to continue their protest. No laws would be broken, and no rights would be stepped on.

The Occupy Portland group in Jamison Square is also (in my opinion,) loud enough to disrupt those around them. So what about the rights of people living near Jamison Square? In my opinion, one person’s rights extend to the point where they start infringing on the rights of others. Who decides if the protesters’ right to protest trumps the residents’ right to actually sleep at night?

I know I’m not the only one who thinks that local laws should apply to everyone. Can anyone tell me why they don’t seem to apply to this group?

One more thing…

“We will be demonstrating in the Pearl District to bring awareness to the inequality of wealth within our very city and to be in solidarity with other occupations and people in Portland and nationally who have been the target of police brutality,” said march organizer Cameron Whitten. 


It’s the “inequality of wealth” part that troubles me. If someone chooses a lucrative career path, and works their ass off, why should they be punished when they amass more wealth than someone who made different choices? I know, I know… Life isn’t always fair, and sometimes people work their ass off and don’t seem to get anywhere. I sympathize with those folks, and will happily try to help anyone who has shown the initiative and drive to help themselves. My mom worked hard to create a better life for my sister and I, and she took help only when it was absolutely necessary. Even though there was an “inequality of wealth”, she didn’t expect handouts.

It’s now 1am, the police are beginning to make arrests at Jamison Square. The protesters are getting louder.

The irony… “Inequality of Wealth” is being protested by expecting an “Inequality of Laws”.

For those of you living in the Pearl, I hope you invested in some ear plugs earlier today. This doesn’t look like it’s going to get quiet any time soon.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments. I’d like to hear different opinions.