From Amy Ruiz at the Portland Mercury, May 14, 2008

“I think everyone’s preference is to have all four members agree on a budget,” Mayor Tom Potter said, kicking off a conversation about the budget. Ultimately it was a low-key discussion, other than a short aside between Potter and Commissioner Randy Leonard about the differences between ongoing and one-time funding (with Potter seeing one-time funding as an affront because it could evaporate the next year, and Leonard pointing out that the council has to reapprove all funding, ongoing and otherwise, every year). The council heard testimony from two dozen people, and went over a few line items—areas where Potter disagrees with Leonard and Commissioner Sam Adams, who’ve put together their own budget revisions. In the end, they didn’t adopt a budget; They’ll keep discussing it for a few weeks, and Commissioner Dan Saltzman has his eye on trying to craft a compromise.

The real action happened outside. I got a call reporting that things were about to escalate with the protest, so I ran downstairs. There were a handful of cops, who had honed in on one man who was asleep under a blue tarp. He didn’t respond to vigorous rubs on his chest, so the cops called paramedics. As media and other protesters gathered around, the paramedics came and took the largely unresponsive man away. While he was being loaded into the ambulance, protesters asked the cops if they were going to confiscate his belongings; No, they said, and let the protesters move in to gather up his things. With that, the cops left.

Protesters said they believe the cops had shown up to enforce city ordinances, but the medical issue took precedence—and when it drew attention, they believe the cops abandoned their ‘sweep’ plans for the moment.

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