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Two arrests in Mt. Tabor Park demonstration

Two arrests in Mt. Tabor Park demonstration

During a demonstratrion Friday at Mt. Tabor Park two people were arrested.

Demonstrators want Portland to keep open water reservoirs.  The federal government is requiring the city to cover the reservoirs or close them. 

Portland Police arrested one man after he violated park rules and refused to leave after being excluded by park officials.

66-year-old Michael Meo was arrested and charged with Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree and booked into the Multnomah County Jail.

Meo was erecting signs in the park against park rules and was issued an exclusion. Meo then refused to vacate the park after being excluded by park officials.

Later Friday night, Portland Police officers arrested a man who pitched a tent in Mt. Tabor park. Erecting a structure in the park is a violation of park rules.

42-year-old Troy Anthony Thompson was arrested and booked into the Multnomah County Jail on a charge of Interfering with a Police Officer.

Prior to the demonstration, the City of Portland Parks and Recreation Department issued the following statement:

Portland Parks & Recreation and the Portland Water Bureau expect a peaceful, unpermitted demonstration on Friday, July 12 at historic Mt. Tabor Park, located at SE 60th Avenue and SE Salmon Street.  The bureaus are aware that demonstrators plan to gather at 5:00 p.m.
Demonstrators are concerned about a federal mandate from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that requires the City of Portland to cover its drinking water reservoirs to protect against any contamination.
Since 2006, the City has repeatedly sought to delay or avoid the LT2 mandate, but a federal court and the Oregon Health Authority have consistently rejected these appeals. Faced with a lack of further legal options and with deadlines looming, the City is moving forward with compliance, which includes disconnecting Mt. Tabor open-air reservoirs once new enclosed reservoirs at Powell Butte and Kelly Butte are completed. The deadline to disconnect the Mt. Tabor reservoirs is Dec. 31, 2015.  A June 2013 statement with more information on the City’s fight against LT2 can be found here.

“We welcome people who wish to assemble peacefully and exercise their first amendment rights,” stated Mayor Charlie Hales.  “We ask that demonstrators who come to Mt. Tabor to express their views also respect the park and follow park rules, so that everyone can enjoy it safely.

“I want to be clear that the City’s primary responsibility must be to protect the safety of our drinking water.  The water in Mt. Tabor’s open reservoirs goes directly to half of Portland’s households, and we will take all necessary steps to keep it safe.”

Portland Parks & Recreation is responsible for the protection and public enjoyment of our parks.  The Parks bureau and Portland police have reached out to organizers of the planned demonstration.  While organizers have refused to secure a permit for the event, the demonstration is expected to be peaceful.  Portland Parks & Recreation will be educating demonstrators on park rules and good stewardship of our public land and its vegetation.  Mt. Tabor Park opens at 5:00 a.m. and closes at 12:00 a.m.

“Portland Parks & Recreation and the members of the City Council support free speech activities,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz.  “Those activities must be balanced with every Portlander’s right to access clean and safe parks in every neighborhood including Mt. Tabor. 

“PP&R is the steward of these public lands and it is our responsibility to protect the park and its natural areas.  I am hoping for a peaceful event where people exercise their right to free expression mindful of the need to maintain our parks and water resources for the benefit of all Portlanders.  I ask that demonstrators respect the special day for the couples holding weddings in the park this weekend.  I hope Mt. Tabor Park, with its historic reservoirs and magnificent views, will continue to be a great location for weddings and other events for many generations to come.”

PP&R asks all visitors to help us to be good stewards of the park by adhering to applicable rules including but not limited to:

• No camping (City Code 14A.50.020)
• No structures are allowed without a permit (City Code 14A.50.050 and 20.12.080)
• Properly dispose of any trash (City Code 20.12.090)
• Protect the park and park vegetation (City Code 20.12.100)
• Keep your dogs on-leash except in designated off-leash areas; please dispose of dog waste properly (City Code 20.12.140)
• Protect Portland’s drinking water supply; do not throw or deposit anything into any of the reservoirs (City Code 14A.50.130)
• Please adhere to park hours. No one shall be in Mt. Tabor during the hours of park closure; the park will be closed from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. (20.12.210)

 

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