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Portland Mobilizes To Defend Fallout Camp From Sweeps

Above Photo: Report on ongoing defense of Fallout Camp in so-called Portland, Oregon from the PDX Houseless Radicals Collective. @PDXHRC / Twitter.

Provide Mutual Aid To Houseless Community.

On Thursday, February 17th, park rangers and Portland police showed up to the PDX Houseless Radicals Collective’s Fallout Camp on Park’s land in southeast Portland, Oregon.  Their intended eviction of the camp was prevented by the presence of several comrades who were there in support. They promised to return in force the following Tuesday.

Organizing for a sweep defense started ramping up that weekend. A community potluck was called for that Sunday at Fallout Camp, where a meeting was held discussing strategy. A public-facing campaign combined with a civil disobedience-style sweep defense was the chosen strategy. A phone zap flyer and a petition began to circulate online, and support was gathered through social media and word-of-mouth. By 7am on Tuesday, February 22nd, we were gathered at the locked gate blocking the steep road leading up into the park, anticipating the arrival of park rangers and police.

The turnout was strong and a festive atmosphere prevailed as people awaited the arrival of the police. Impromptu kazoo concerts sprang up (someone had arrived with a big bag of kazoos) and a trash cleanup in front of the gate filled a dozen trash bags. Antifascist and anarchist flags fluttered in the cold morning air as people huddled around a campfire to keep warm. A local donation-based kitchen provided food.

The cops never showed up. Perhaps because of the aggressive online flyering, or maybe because of the impressive numbers on the ground. PDXHRC has organized sweep defenses before, and has frequently seen cops not show up for months once that happens. Maybe a strategy of broad sweep deterrence, with many more defense campaigns, could be effective.

Before people started heading home in the early afternoon, they were encouraged to call up the parks offices and leave their opinion on the planned sweep. Houseless comrades in Portland face constant police harassment and a recent directive by the Mayor’s office has further criminalized camping near roadways. Yet out-of-the-way, sustainable, low-impact camps such as Fallout Camp, which also serves as a community mutual aid hub, are still targeted and swept. There’s no place for people to go except for the Mayor’s planned concentration camps.

The sweep defense achieved its goals and turnout was high on short notice. Everyone is aware, however, that this is an ongoing sweep defense and camp support campaign. The stresses of living under constant threat of eviction and arrest are enormous, and began to take their toll on the campers of Fallout Camp. But solidarity means that if the city makes another move, we’ll be there in force.

We are committed to continuing our defense of Fallout Camp. We say to the city: Hands off Fallout Camp!  Stop the Sweeps!

You can call the Portland Parks & Recs office and tell them to leave Fallout Camp on Kelly Butte alone at: (503) 823-1637

And sign the petition at: chng.it/hmvFFd62SQ

Find out more about the Portland Houseless Radicals Collective at www.pdxhrc.org and @PDXHRC on Twitter

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