Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New additions to the IGC!

Lest one might think we are dying down because of the loss of the Occupation camp (not for very long!), we remind everyone that we had 19 members in this group -- and now with three new members, 22.

We welcome Aurora WindDancer, Alethea K. Devi and Shannon Batts this week.

Aurora has long been part of the local Pagan community, and is a priestess in the Mystic Arts Gathering & Information Circle (MAGIC).

Alethea is a spiritual counselor, certified officiant and is a member of the Sufi Ruhaniat Order of Universal Sufism

Shannon comes from Metanoia Peace Community, which has already supported the #OccupyPortland in many ways (and supplied Rumorz with coffee every morning).  She is also involved with the Seriously Pissed Off Grannies.

Monday, November 28, 2011

How to use our IRC channel

The first IRC server, A Sun-3 ...
The world's oldest IRC server (EFnet) in its birthplace, Finland. Image via Wikipedia
To facilitate a better participation in organizing, we are simultaneously augmenting some of our planning meetings on IRC.

The Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was in the past very popular, before the advent of instant messengers, social media and more advanced platforms such as Skype. It is still the best choice because it is non-proprietary, open-source and cross-platform -- and is decentralized. Many "hacktivist" groups as well as open-source programmers still actively use IRC for this reason.

Network: Newnet -- List of servers is or simply use the main server address

Channel: #opdxigc (all channel names must precede by #)

How to get on IRC: There are many IRC client software available for computers of all platforms. Go to and

For iPad, iPhone, Android and other mobile devices there are also many IRC apps. The best-reviewed one is called Colloquy (for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch), which sells for $2 at the Apple app store. For Android, try

For mobile phone handsets that can run Java apps (JavaME), there is jedirc available at (normal data use plan is required).  This is a small Java-based software and it also works on your computer if you can run Microemulator (on Linux).

You can also use this web-based IRC from your browser:

For visual learners: Everything except for Username and Password (optional) should look like this.

Help with commands: IRC tutorial

All IRC commands start with / (forward slash).
To connect to a server -> /server 6667
To exit -> /quit
To join a channel -> /join #opdxigc
To establish/change a nickname (whereas foobar is your desired nick) -> /nick foobar 
To register your nickname so no one else can use it (Newnet specific), after having established your nickname (see above) -> /nickserv register password emailaddress
To privately message someone specific (e.g. say "type your message here" to user willowfairypdx) -> /msg willowfairypdx type your message here

If you need any help, email or privately message Sarah (willowfairypdx on Newnet).

Help! I logged on and it seems like no one is there (or I saw everyone just disappear at once!): You may be experiencing a net-split.  A net-split occurs when one of the servers affiliated with the IRC network (such as Newnet) disconnects from the rest of the network abruptly.  Try another server on Newnet, for instance:
/server 6667

Nickserv?  The Nickname Server (NickServ) is a service provided by NewNet to help ensure that no one else is pretending to be you.  When you register, you simply change your nickname to what you would like to register (for example, "quirkyquark")

/nick quirkyquark

then in the next line type in "/nickserv register" followed by your password and email address.  The email address is important as NickServ will send you a validation code, which you will need to complete registration.

/nickserv register tH1s1smyP@ssw0rd!?

Then check your email.  Type exactly as instructed in the email.
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Friday, November 25, 2011

#OccupyPortland Spiritual Life Newsletter, Nov. 25, 2011

The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

Notes from Sarah (#OccupyThanksgivingPDX recap): Mic check!  It was quite a weather on this year's Thanksgiving day, but many people came amidst an occasional 25-35 mph wind and heavy rain.  Thank you!  And also the news crew from KOIN, KPTV and KGW, as well as from the #OccupyPortland Livestream, and a mention in The Oregonian and KATU!

Initially I was concerned that we might not have enough food -- but it turned out otherwise.  Even around 5 p.m. we had two picnic tables full of really good stuff, as well as more-than-enough supply of paper plates and such.  At the end, they were delivered to Right2Dream Too (R2D2) -- thanks to Nathan, who has a car -- as we were unable to get either the OP food team or Food Not Bombs.

We saw many of our active member chaplains, who hadn't seen each other in the same place for over a couple of weeks now, as well as both familiar and new faces.  People came in waves, with new food coming in throughout the event, in part thanks to the publicity provided through the official Occupy website and the food team telling donors to bring food to the Wallace Park instead on Thanksgiving.  We are also honored to see a group of Occupiers from Wall Street visiting us briefly.  One of the Occupiers noted how small the Zuccotti Park actually is.

While most of the crowd had left by 4 p.m., we thought it was a good idea to have this event running until much later -- since there is virtually nothing open after early afternoon on a Thanksgiving day, and there may be people in search for food (the truth: there is nothing around dinner time).  A few people did indeed came and went, perhaps aided by the late-afternoon tweets that have been RT'ed by quite a few, and then I saw a couple with a stroller (and I heard "meow! meow! meow!" from the stroller!), apparently unaware of this event.  They said they were just kicked out of the place they were staying and were about to find a sleeping spot that was shielded from rain and wind.  Most of leftover items that were already opened and half-eaten went to this couple, and the turkey scraps to the meowy cat, who was more interested in smelling my leg than the turkey at first.  The cat looked like a Maine coon-tabby mix, so was big and had big eyes and a big head.

The mock Thanksgiving GA did not happen -- mostly because people were already deeply engaged in conversations.

We hoped that this event would re-capture the sense of community that was ever-present in our former Alpha and Beta camps.  For the most part, this event has been a success beyond my earlier projection.

Thank you everyone.

Now #Occupy Black Friday!


What is new with the IGC?  Can I still become involved?  As many people of faith look into this part of the year as a time of reflections (for example, Advent, which is considered a penitential season according to the Christian liturgical calendar, in preparation for Christmas) and community, we are also looking into ways to bring awareness of the issues behind the #Occupy movement as well as to bring the community together across diverse spiritual traditions.  We are always looking for more involvement, especially by those who can be actively engaged around #OccupyPortland actions and events.  As the #OccupyPortland movement is planning on several actions and moves over this holiday season, we also would like to be ready for actions and be flexible to the latest developments as they occur.  We will be resuming the weekly planning meeting on Thursdays at 3 p.m. starting December 1. Contact Sarah if you are interested.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The IGC members at the Wallace Park

Quite a feast

Sarah Morrigan speaking to KGW-8 crew
Happy Thanksgiving!
We have still LOTS of food.
please come down here.

Anyone from Food Not Bombs or #OccupyPortland food team - or anyone else in need of free food - you are welcome to come in for pick-up between 6 and 7 p.m.  We are at the picnic area of the Wallace Park (NW 25th Avenue & NW Quimby Street).

Giving thanks to the #Occupy community (and last minute requests)

I personally feel that my life changed to a great degree since the Occupation began in Portland, on October 6, and on that day when I became part of this very amazing community.  Last night during the General Assembly, there was a discussion over the benefits of having a physical, central encampment -- as opposed to the current state of affairs -- with the centralized concentration of committed people willing to get involved, places ready to use for any meeting, and the sheer concentration of energy, the Occupation was a very good place to get anything started.

In my life before the Occupation, I had many great ideas -- or that I thought -- but the biggest obstacle was to get people interested in the ideas and recruit enough members or supporters.  For years I got ideas but nothing was implemented.

When I started with this idea of having a chaplains' group, somewhat inspired by the Protest Chaplains in Boston, but with a much wider and more diverse base -- all what I did was to make two hand-written notes and posted one at the library and another at the information.  Within days there was already a group of eight fired-up people and soon we were having three to five services in any given week.  This group had grown to 19 members, plus cooperation and support from three churches in the area.

And much of our success came from the fact that in the midst of the Occupation, we had visibility and exposure to traffic.  Many people just stopped by.

Another great thing about the #Occupy movement is its blend of free-wheeling anarchism that values individual initiatives (instead of beating them down with rivalry, cliquishness and bureaucracy) and its spirit of collectivist collaboration.  Much of what happens in this movement is decentralized and started by one person or a small group of people -- yet the whole community somehow gets the word of it in a very short time and become part of it.

This is also happening today on this Thanksgiving.  I hoped that today we re-capture the sparks of the #Occupy community we generated back in our ancestral land (yes, now I feel like these parks are the ancestral land of #OccupyPortland).  I have been so far amazed by the level of support from the community, although today's event has never been technically speaking an #OccupyPortland event.  The OP media team has been widely promoting today's festivities, and some random people have (not me or anyone from the IGC!) been announcing the event in the GA and Spokes Council throughout this week.  And I have received a phone call informing me that the OP kitchen team is apparently telling people to direct food donations to our Thanksgiving event today at the Wallace Park.  So things are happening and balls are rolling with a very minimal effort on my side.  For all this, I would like to give thanks.

This also leads me to put out a number of last-minute requests:

  1. We have no capacity for cooking at the park.  If there is anyone from Food Not Bombs or OP Kitchen Team who can pick up any items that we cannot really use at today's event, you would be appreciated much.
  2. Potentially we may have a large people turn out and potentially we may have plenty of food.  Please take any leftovers with you, so we can minimize the waste.
  3. We may need plates, silverware, etc.  While practicality dictates that, most likely, disposable ones would become necessary, if anyone within a walking distance of the Wallace Park with a kitchen (does not have to be big, or commercial -- a typical apartment kitchen would do), we can have a few volunteers shuttle reusable items back and forth for washing and reusing.
  4. The weather report today says this afternoon could potentially become nasty.  It may be a good idea to have a *clean* tarp to cover the food and table if needed, to keep them out of the weather and elements as much as possible.

Sarah Morrigan
Program Coordinator
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The VIP invitation!

Subject: Giving Thanks!

Mayor Sam Adams, Commissioner Nick Fish, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Commissioner Randy Leonard, Commissioner Dan Saltzman, City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade, Chief of Police Mike Reese, Police Capt. Sara Westbrook, County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, Rep. Mitch Greenlick, Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, Rep. Lew Frederick, Rep. Tina Kotek, Sen. Chip Shields

Nov. 23, 2011

Dear Public Officials:

As the founder and the coordinator of the #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (, I would like to express all you have done to make #OccupyPortland a successful model for the world to see, and your willingness for dialogues and working together to seek a uniquely Portland solution to both the messages of the Occupy movement and various issues arising from this community.

As an independent and autonomous organization, closely working with the #OccupyPortland community, we are committed to promote mutual understanding, peaceful dialogue and reconciliation.  Though recent press coverage and social media exposures have brought much rift between the #OccupyPortland movement and the government officials, we hope that a new stage of the Occupy movement in Oregon is now taking off the ground with a renewed energy and spirit of cooperation.
Personally, I feel that my experiences with the #OccupyPortland has been one of the most meaningful learning opportunities in my life.  I gained a community, a voice, and skills for community organizing in a fertile and nurturing environment.  This, you may agree, is most likely one of the best things that have happened in recent history of Oregon that brought back the spirit of civic engagement and community-building.  I am thankful both for all Occupiers -- even those whom I did not agree with, and even those who were causing troubles -- and also for each and all of you.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have put together a small Thanksgiving get-together at the Wallace Park in Northwest Portland (NW 25th Avenue and Quimby Street).  This is not another "occupation" (as I had stated clearly several times already elsewhere) but rather an opportunity for some of the Occupiers who may be away from their loved ones to celebrate with what had become a kind of new family through the 39 days of our occupation of the downtown parks.  We will be there from noon to around 7 p.m., and we would love to see you stop by, although we understand this is kind of a short notice and I am quite sure that you all have family commitment.  Nevertheless, we thought it would be a great gesture to invite you as our sign of thanksgiving to your hard work for all Portlanders.

Sincerely yours,

Sarah Morrigan
Program Coordinator
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

More about #OccupyThanksgivingPDX tomorrow

Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) Is known...
Image via Wikipedia
Thanks to many people in the #OccupyPortland community, tomorrow's #OccupyThanksgivingPDX event has been very widely publicized beyond our initial expectation, including on the KEX radio (thanks to Jordan LeDoux, the OP media team press liaison).  Also last night someone in the Spokes Council incorrectly announced that the event starts at 1 p.m.; it is noon.

The #OccupyThanksgivingPDX is not an official #OccupyPortland event -- and we, the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains, is not part of the #OccupyPortland organization although we were founded in the original Occupation camp and continue to maintain a very close collaboration with the #OccupyPortland.  Therefore tomorrow's event should not be construed as representative of the movement and the members of the press are requested to keep this in mind (a bad example: headlines such as "Occupy Portland holds Thanksgiving potluck" -- we are not "Occupy Portland").  Neither the General Assembly nor any of the OP committees is involved in the planning of this event -- and it is an event to celebrate the community that grew out of the Occupation and also a way for us to say thank-you to all who have become an important part of our lives since October 6.

Since this is not under the official sanction of the #OccupyPortland, technically the event is not under the code of conduct of the #OccupyPortland; however, we expect you to be on your best behavior.  This is a family-friendly event and we would like to keep it a safer space.  Please refer to the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains' safety protocols for our safer space policy particularly the article number 2 (specifically we remind you: absolutely no use of alcohol, cannabis and other illicit substance will be tolerated, and also we request no smoking).

As an organization whose purpose is to build mutual understanding and promote peace and reconciliation, we are inviting a number of VIPs -- although there is no guarantee that any of them would show up, since I am pretty sure they have their own family commitments and such -- including Mayor Sam Adams, Commissioners Nick Fish, Amanda Fritz, Dan Saltzman, and Randy Leonard; Chief Mike Reese, Capt. Sara Westbrook, as well as the infamous pepper-spray cop whose name is unknown (please come if you see this), in addition to local elected officials such as County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, Rep. Mitch Greenlick and Sen. Suzanne Bonamici.

And please NO TENTS or other structures. Just to avoid any misunderstanding or miscommunication here, no attempt at camping at this park will be tolerated and will result in immediate dismissal from the event.  The event ends at 7 p.m. and the park closes at midnight.  This is Thanksgiving Day and the Portland Police Bureau is required to pay out triple- or quadruple-overtime on anyone who has to work that day.  So do Portland taxpayers a favor and please keep all the troubles and drama for another day and for another place.  Thanks.

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Too busy to follow all the Occupy news?

WASHINGTON - JULY 6:  Twitter co-founder and E...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
In the world of #OccupyPortland lots of things happen in a matter of a day.  For many, Twitter has become one of the most reliable ways to disseminate information and news.  But it is also one of the most time-consuming social media platforms out there.

Here is a good alternative:

This site shows the "best of" #OccupyPortland news in a daily digest format.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

News from the OSW

Ordo Sancti Benedicti
Image by eisenbahner via Flickr
The Order of the Serene Wisdom

The OSW website is still primitive and does not have whole a lot of information.  We now have a Facebook group, also.

Events of interest:

Thursday, Nov. 24, noon-7 p.m.:#OccupyThanksgivingPDX at Wallace Park in Northwest Portland. Info:

Date TBA: OSW meeting to discuss proposed adaptation of monastic rules into a contemporary, interfaith context that can encompass the cultural, spiritual and demographic diversity of the #Occupy movement and resulting community.  We will be drafting a document that is largely modelled after a contemporary modification of the Rule of Saint Benedict (by the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict) and a version of the Franciscan rule (by the Franciscan Community of Mercy), however our proposed monastic rules would further emphasize our commitment for a new kind of monasticism that addresses systemic issues such as racism, classism, able-ism, sexism and homophobia, and also more heavily incorporate elements of collectivist leadership and decision-making from Quakers and Anabaptists.  RSVP by email.

Other news from IGC: Visit or follow Twitter at or Facebook at

The Order of the Serene Wisdom (OSW) -- Ordo Sapientiae Viae Veritatis in Latin -- was conceived during a weekly chaplains' meeting of the #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (IGC) in late October, 2011.  In the noises, actions and motions of the bustling Occupation encampment community, we felt a need for a collective, structured spiritual practice in an authentic community.  There were some positive responses to this idea.  Also, we believe that the #Occupy movement is a beginning of the new spiritual awakening as well as of the political, social and economic transformation.  What better time is there to start a new monastic order that reflects the spirit of the #OWS worldwide?  In the ancient and medieval times, monasteries saved the civilizations and provided community, places of learning, and economic opportunities amidst social unrest and collapses of empires.  The OSW -- a thinly-disguised anagram of #OWS -- is a truly interfaith and ecumenical religious order that draws wisdom from both traditional scriptures and mythos from all cultures, as well as from the "Inner Light" that speaks to us in our silence.  The structure of the OSW is mostly based on the Order of St. Benedict, with necessary modifications appropriate for an interfaith context, and a leadership structure modelled after the #Occupy movement's General Assembly.  

The OSW is based in Portland, Oregon.  We invite those outside Portland to form their own independent priories under the same name.  Like the Occupy movement itself, there is no centralized global organization, just mutual cooperation.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

#OccupyThanksgivingPDX park-upation update

Wallace Park
Image by The Prudent Cyclist via Flickr
To the friends of #OccupyThanksgivingPDX:

The weather report indicates a good possibility of rain on Thanksgiving Day.  We will be park-upying the Wallace Park in Northwest Portland, and there is a covered picnic area with a table.  The park is accessible by TriMet 77 bus and also a short distance from the nearest 15 stop, as well as the Portland Streetcar (23rd & Marshall).

So far we are expecting a pretty low-key event, with some people coming and going, with a total of no more than 20 at any given moment (take this into account when making food, although it is always nice to have more than not enough) -- which should keep us below the crowd level that would technically require a permit.  In any case, with the history of #OccupyPortland-related events so far, the City has not been too stringent on permits, due to the possible issues with the freedom of assembly.  Since this event is sponsored by the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains, it is further protected under religious freedom, any less than any church picnic at a park.  The reason why we are requesting RSVP also has to do with health regulation -- as we cannot really give away food to the "general public" even if we aren't selling it (as they say on Last Thursdays on Alberta every year).

We are also inviting a number of VIPs as a gesture of goodwill and peace-building.

You are invited to come when you can and leave when you must.  With people coming in and going there should be something going on throughout the event.  Also feel free to bring your friends and neighbors, and any random person you might meet on the street.  This is about community-building and re-capturing the spirit of autonomous, collectivist collaboration that was a big part of our occupation in the downtown parks (minus tents, troubles, and A-camps).

Some suggestions:

  • Vegan items are good; if you are bringing in turkey or any meat/fish/egg/dairy product (label ingredients!), ensure that the temperature stays above or below the danger range at all times in order to prevent any health risk. (e.g., cooler with ice.) 
  • No alcohol please.  We do not have a permit for this.
  • If you can bring in plates, silverware, etc., you are wonderful.  If you can think of anyone who lives within a walking distance of the Wallace Park who is willing to let us use their kitchen for dishwashing, we may even be able to forego disposable materials.
  • Bring music, games, spoken words, etc. to share
  • A tablecloth, some kind of table settings, candles, etc. would make the occasion elegant and festive.
  • We are planning on a hilarious Thanksgiving General Assembly at 3 p.m.  This isn't a real General Assembly and will not actually do anything.  There will be three very silly proposals (that would make headlines on the Onion!) on what to do on the "Day after Black Friday."  The idea is for everyone to offer craziest possible amendments and see how bizarre it would turn into!  While this is purely for fun, it is also a great learning opportunity for those who have heard about the GA and interested in participating but don't know how, as we will be running on the standard General Assembly procedures.
  • Please - no tents.  However, we suggest bringing in a blanket or something to keep yourself warm.
One more planning meeting for anyone who is able: Tuesday, Nov. 22, 3 p.m. at the Copeland Commons (the big room on the main floor), TaborSpace (5441 S.E. Belmont St.).

Link to the earlier post on this event:

This event is sponsored and organized by the #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains, an independent and autonomous group.  This is not an official #OccupyPortland General Assembly-sanctioned event. 

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

The OSW, a new interfaith religious order for the OWS era

Benedictine monks singing Vespers on Holy Satu...
Image via Wikipedia
The Order of the Serene Wisdom (OSW) was conceived during a weekly chaplains' meeting of the #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains (IGC) in late October, 2011.

In the noises, actions and motions of the bustling Occupation encampment community, we felt a need for a collective, structured spiritual practice in an authentic community.  There were some positive responses to this idea.  Also, we believe that the #Occupy movement is a beginning of the new spiritual awakening as well as of the political, social and economic transformation.  What better time is there to start a new monastic order that reflects the spirit of the #OWS worldwide?

In the ancient and medieval times, monasteries saved the civilizations and provided community, places of learning, and economic opportunities amidst social unrest and collapses of empires.  The OSW -- a thinly-disguised anagram of #OWS -- is a truly interfaith and ecumenical religious order that draws wisdom from both traditional scriptures and mythos from all cultures, as well as from the "Inner Light" that speaks to us in our silence.  The structure of the OSW is mostly based on the Order of St. Benedict, with necessary modifications appropriate for an interfaith context, and a leadership structure modelled after the #Occupy movement's General Assembly.

For more about this visit:
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An urgent message to the mayor and police chief

Nov. 17, 2011

Dear Mayor Adams and Chief Reese,

For a long time, the world looked up to Portland as a model that we can be proud of, in terms of how the #Occupy movement, its organizers, and city officials came together in supporting the popular sentiments that led to the global #OWS movement. I feel that the high point in the history of #OccupyPortland was how the Occupy General Assembly, committees, the City of Portland, and the Portland Marathon worked out their conflicts and created a true win-win solution that caught the whole world by surprise. This, and the civility at the core of the interactions between #OccupyPortland and the City of Portland, including the Fire Bureau, Parks and Recreation Bureau, and the Police Bureau, made #OccupyPortland perhaps the most successful Occupations on earth.

Now I miss those days, when our shared concerns were about street youth on drugs and occasional incidents involving an inebriated chronic homeless on a bench. Those issues were our shared concerns,
and solutions were for the benefit of all parties involved. You both know that aside from these incidents, everything was mostly peaceful.

Now that, as many of the downtown area big businesses and their interest group Portland Business Alliance, has gotten their demands by "getting rid of the homeless" in the Chapman and Lownsdale parks, and that now we are in a phase of a reinvigorated #OccupyPortland movement in which we are not longer, in Mr. Mayor, your own words, "worried about tents and port-a-potties," you and Chief Reese ought to show your stated support for the #Occupy movement and its causes for social and economic justice.

Instead, Mr. Mayor and Mr. Chief, after the extensive homeless outreach campaign ostensibly to separate those who were part of the #OccupyPortland encampment simply for food and shelter from what you might think of as "genuine protesters," you have decided to outfit the police with riot gear and assault weapons.

Mssrs. Adams and Reese, this makes absolutely no sense to me. First of all, what the City is doing is potentially in violation of ORS 163.190, which makes it a crime, a Class A Misdemeanor, to "place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury." Secondly, I do not think I am the only one scratching my head (not a reference to the media-hyped rumors of a head lice outbreak!) trying to make
sense of your seeming 180-degree change of attitudes taking place sometime last Saturday, November 12. Many progressive media and bloggers are speculating the existence of a secret federal directive
to crush #Occupy movements nationwide in a coordinated attack. Yet, even then, the mayor had the ultimate say in when and how anything was to be implemented, according to the same sources. Thirdly, the constant presence of riot police and display of their weapons over the past several days in downtown is defeating what you ostensibly seek to accomplish: tourists and shoppers are now reluctant to go downtown as it no longer looks like a safe, family-friendly environment. While the ongoing intimidation campaign by the Portland Police Bureau further drives a wedge between the more mainstream, moderate types of the "99 percent" and the radical, "anarchist" elements, the demonstrations are increasingly attracting those radicalized elements while driving away the more moderate and peaceful types, including myself. Enough is enough. There is no reason to spread a mass paranoia and turn an important part of Portland such as downtown into a war zone, and inconveniencing the rest of the 99% through unnecessary and excessive traffic closures and restrictions. The #OccupyPortland movement did not bring this upon downtown. Through your actions, the people are more agitated towards the police and the resentment and anger towards the City are growing,  perhaps even more so than during the days of encampment. A week ago, the problem was confined just in three city blocks; today the Steel Bridge and a large portion of downtown Portland, Old Town-Chinatown, Pearl District and Lloyd District are affected.

Mr. Adams and Mr. Reese, there are far more constructive and non-confrontational ways to support public safety and help the local businesses and workers who work there. Even you yourselves have always said publicly that the majority of #OccupyPortland people are peaceful, organized and responsible, and that it has always been a problem of few individuals with questionable ties to #OccupyPortland.

As the November 17 action was planning on a rally today at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, let us learn from the legacy of Governor Tom McCall -- a very moderate Republican who brought us SOLV and bottle deposits -- When faced with a prospect of a major showdown between anti-Vietnam demonstrators and the American Legion Conference, Mr. McCall did not send down riot police; rather, he worked closely with the organizers to create a solution that prevented a major violent conflict, known as Vortex I. Creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, which he originally thought of as "a political suicide," made him a wildly popular governor and one of the best-remembered elected officials in Oregon history.

Mr. Adams and Mr. Reese, you have an opportunity today to make a history that all Portlanders and Oregonians can be proud for decades to come. It is on your shoulders and in your hands to show that you walk the talk when you and your colleagues say you support the messages of the #Occupy movement.

This polarization, alienation and increasing tension between #OccupyPortland and the City of Portland must stop. I am expecting you to show some initiative that once again bring us all together for a common cause and win-win solutions.

The ball is in your courts.


Sarah Morrigan

The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains
Twitter: @OccupyPDXigc @sarahmorrigan

This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

Our invitation to #OccupyThanksgivingPDX

Place cards for Thanksgiving dinner 2008.
Image via Wikipedia
We are occupying Thanksgiving Day.

We occupy it because:

  1. This is a quintessentially American holiday, and is an important part of American cultural narratives.
  2. This is also a holiday that commemorates the fact that the European colonizers began their expansive ambitions and conquest and genocide of the First Nations, in the name of "freedom" -- something this holiday tends to sugar-coat.
  3. On this day, there are many -- and growing number of -- Portlanders who are unhoused and, since most of other Portlanders have a privilege of being able to stay home, take a day off, and spend time with family, they are left outside often with no place to go and nothing to eat.  We recognize this social inequity.
  4. Today, Thanksgiving Day is the official beginning of the "Holiday Season," which is essentially an orgy of consumerism orchestrated by the top 1%.  Many publicly-traded big corporations count on this season, and the Fourth Quarter earnings report affects share prices significantly.  We occupy this day to reclaim the Thanksgiving as a time for community, sharing, and abundance.
When: Thursday, Nov. 24 -- The festivities run from noon until 7 p.m.; everyone is welcome to participate in part or all of this event.
Where: In the close-in Northwest Portland with a good public transit and bicycle greenway access.  Please RSVP for location.
What: Lunch and dinner, potluck style; open-mic music and spoken words; community discussions on various topics; games; and the "Thanksgiving General Assembly" -- mostly a fun exercise where people who are new to the #Occupy movement can learn how to participate in a GA, or organize their own GAs.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Abusive paternalism

By Tim Graves

I have been bothered by an exchange with Portland Mayor Sam Adams that I had via Twitter last week. [Read more]

This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains.

An open letter to Mayor Sam Adams

Dear Mayor Adams,

I write with a heavy heart this morning, as I reflect on the actions taken by the Portland police dept on Sunday in particular.

As a Pastor at a local church, The Bridge, serving as an Occupy Chaplain, I have had much time the last few weeks to observe and talk to not only the Occupiers, the homeless who found a home, but the police who patrolled the camp. In that time I have not seen anything but an honest attempt to try and make the best of an awkward situation. Saturday afternoon, as we cleaned up the Sacred Space area I was reminded by officers and by strangers on the street, that we all are part of the 99%.

Saturday night, I was nervous that some knucklehead itching for a fight would spark a riot. Instead, the knucklehead who did show up was quickly vomited from the crowd with chants that “we are nonviolent.” There was no riot. I am convinced in my heart that both sides in this standoff on Saturday wanted the same thing… peace.

Sunday is a different story, and I hope at some point soon you will explain to me and others in the city who are concerned with what we saw as unnecessary force on the part of the Portland police department. We all witnessed the “knucklehead” get exposed from the Occupy group Sat night, will the city now do the same for the “knucklehead” who prompted the pushing, shoving and arrests on Sunday that initiated from the side of the police?

Unlike other cities dealing with Occupy camps, you Mr. Mayor had done an incredible job of building trust and showing a willingness to work with a diverse group of people. I feel that trust has been broken, and it does cause me to grieve as it seems so unnecessary.

I would ask that those who were arrested Sunday, have those arrests revoked and their records to be expunged.

This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains or The Bridge.

Donna Van Horn
Co-Pastor at The Bridge Christian Church of Portland

This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains.

The #OccupyPortland Spiritual Life Newsletter, Nov. 15

The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

Quick notes from Sarah: Mic check! I see that the mainstream media and politicians are having a field day declaring that this movement is dead.  The movement, however, is stronger than ever.  The repression galvanizes this movement and causes it to grow by bounds.  The IGC also will adapt to this second act of #OccupyPortland, whether or not it re-occupies a public space.  We will continue our increased engagement with the #OccupyPortland community, the General Assembly, the Spokes Council, and various actions.  Additionally, we are envisioning ourselves also as agents for actions.  We are planning for a number of such actions in Portland in the near future.  Stay tuned.

In solidarity and with resolve,
Sarah Morrigan
Program Coordinator

Sarah in the press: Perhaps you may have seen her on KGW and KOIN.  She is getting quite a bit of media attention of late, ranging from locals such as the Willamette Week, The Oregonian, and the Portland Mercury, to global press such as Salon.

Upcoming IGC events and services: 

We are re-assessing our activities as the focus of our work has shifted from serving the population within the Camps Alpha and Beta, to a much wider stage and audience.  Some of the ideas we have had discussed so far include:
  • Interfaith forum on peace and conflict resolution
  • Theological dialogues
  • Direct actions
  • Media production (video, etc.)
  • Holiday season actions: "Occupy Thanksgiving" and "Occupy Christmas"
  • Community- and neighborhood-based events
  • Interfaith monastic order
  • "Occupy Churches"
We also hope to continue the Interfaith Peace Gathering in some way, perhaps in conjunction with any planned #OccupyPortland actions or occupations.

The rebirth of the #OccupyPortland

Despite the recent events, the #Occupy movement in Portland is stronger than ever.  

Note: Not all actions/events are endorsed or organized by the General Assembly.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Time to process

The Relax Box withstood all attacks

This morning around 8 a.m. -- Rumorz with a small crowd celebrating a short-lived victory.

The Camp Beta after the invasion
What once was our village.  Taken tonight.

This past 24 hours has been a very, very long one.

I think we all need a little time away to process this.

I will be holding an informal talking circle at the Copeland Commons at TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont Street, on Tuesday at 2-4 p.m.  Just come to share.

Thanks everyone for supporting #OccupyPortland and this community we have created.

I also thank a generous benefactor who offered an accommodation for 100 Occupiers for tonight.

Now let's occupy and multiply,

Sarah Morrigan
Program Coordinator
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

Victory! Day 39 of the Occupation

We did it!  By sheer force peaked at 10,000 people around 2 a.m., the Occupiers have regained Southwest Main Street (now open again) as well as the parks.

Here is video recap for those who just woke up:

We may decide to go back to the Occupation for our Interfaith Peace Gathering (3 p.m.) depending on the situation.  It will be announced by 1 p.m. this afternoon.

Thank you for everyone's solidarity and resolve!

Livestream from the Occupation

Watch live streaming video from occupyptown at

Saturday, November 12, 2011

We're not done

At the end of many Wiccan and Neo-Pagan rituals, it is said, "The circle is open but never is broken. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again."  As we depart the birthplace, so to speak, of this historic movement in Portland, Oregon, it is important to remember that #OccupyPortland is not about parks but about people.  It is often said by Evangelical Christians, "the church is not a building, but a group of believers."  I think it is true with this movement too.  And I hope, as this movement and the community that is #OccupyPortland lift themselves off this nest like a maturing bird, whenever two or three Occupiers are gathered, the energy and vision of the #Occupy movement also will also be present.

The Interfaith Guild of Chaplains, too, will continue deeply connected to the movement and this community.  We will continue our presence and witness in the future occupations and other actions, as well as to expand the range of activities to the rest of the Greater Portland area.

I hope to see you tonight at the Occufest, starting at 6 p.m., and our final celebration -- befittingly, the havdalah service -- at 7 p.m. (new location: Terry Schrunk Plaza by the chained-up Occupiers.)

And tomorrow, Sunday, 3 p.m., our Interfaith Peace Gathering will be held at the Shemansky Fountain in South Park Blocks, between Main and Salmon.

In solidarity,

Sarah Morrigan
Resident Coordinator
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains.

Friday, November 11, 2011

End the anti-homeless hate, prejudice and discrimination: an emerging take-away from #OccupyPortland

November 11, 2011
By Sarah Morrigan
Resident Coordinator
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

As the @Alternet report dated on Oct. 23, 2011 has noted, "[T]he Occupy Wall Streeters are beginning to discover what homeless people have known all along--that most ordinary activities are illegal when performed in public." (

One of the major ways that the mainstream media focused on in order to discredit the #OccupyPortland movement was to launch a coordinated smear campaign using the "chronically homeless" and "street youth" as the majority representation of the Occupation.  Whether it was true or not is irrelevant; what is relevant here is that how "homelessness" can be used by the media and politicians to launch a successful campaign against anything.  Time after time, the same kind of campaign is launched against a specific neighborhood, a social service agency, or even against a for-profit business (such as stores that accommodate the homeless too kindly).  The real issue here is that deep-seated hatred, hostility and prejudice against the unhoused people exist, along with an associated stereotype of "the homeless" to fuel this hatred, loathing and fear among the people -- not unlike similar stereotype and prejudice against certain racial and ethnic groups, or against the sexual minorities, or against members of certain religions.

During my occupation at the #OccupyPortland encampment, I discovered an interesting evidence of this deep-seated and largely unexamined prejudice.  I am involved with various programs at a certain Episcopal church in Portland, Oregon, that is generally viewed as upscale and with mostly affluent membership.  To its credit, it has a large-scale outreach ministry to provide food to both unhoused and housed low-income people alike.  Yet, outside the outreach work, it has been always clear to me that most of its parishioners, as well as its clergy and employees are unfriendly (if not outright hostile) to anyone who are unhoused and dare show up at worship services.  People look at them with contempt, follow them around as if they are public enemy number one, keep them at three arms' lengths, and whenever expedient, try to kick them out.  I have heard many times from a few of the church's employees that they are tired of "babysitting the homeless."

Yet, on one Sunday I gave a 10-minute presentation on #OccupyPortland and told my story of camping out in a park for four and a half weeks.  The crowd applauded.  Many commented how proud they were for me doing this, and that they were thankful for me doing what they were unable to do although they wanted to do.

What if I just told walked in and told them that I camp out in a downtown park?

I'm pretty sure they'd give me a scornful look, and shortly after would be escorted out by one of the sextons.  No one would probably dare even speak to me.

That Sunday was an epiphany moment.  I finally understood what I felt for a long time but was unable to put my finger on.

There is a prejudice, hatred and discrimination.

In the City of Portland, in the State of Oregon, and in the United States of America, the unhoused people are among the last of those who could legally be discriminated against from housing, employment and public accommodation.

In my years of community organizing among the unhoused people, I have heard many, many times that how companies would not hire them because they are "homeless", or how it is far more difficult to rent an apartment even though they have money because they had a history of "homelessness" evidenced by a gap in rental history.  As for public accommodation, some shopping malls and businesses are outright hostile to unhoused people and, even when they are paying customers, deny or attempt to deny public accommodation.  A certain convenience store chain is notorious for denying sale of alcoholic beverages to unhoused people, even though no state law or regulation mandates it.

While government officials and non-profit executives sell "homelessness" to score political points, build their own legacies and to raise funds, the actual unhoused people are dehumanized, marginalized, disempowered and systemically denied even the most fundamental human rights.  The police also profiles and targets the unhoused people, just as they do the people of color and immigrants.  The unhoused people are more prone to prolonged incarceration and unfavorable sentences.  The unhoused people also are systemically restricted or barred from accessing post office boxes (the post office requires a proof of residence), banking (USA PATRIOT Act requires a proof of residence), and identification card or driving license (which is becoming next to impossible due to the anti-immigrant laws enacted in recent years in the name of the war on terrorism).

Additionally, hate crimes against unhoused people are serious, recurring problems in American cities including Portland, Oregon.

The #Occupy movement brought us to stand in solidarity with unhoused people, the urban nomads, and street dwellers.  We must unite to end discrimination against the unhoused people.

We have heard too many times the lip services public officials make to "help the homeless."  However, no meaningful advancement is made unless this inequity is addressed and barriers to participating in society are removed by protecting the unhoused individuals from discrimination and hate.

The first step is to push for a city ordinance protecting the unhoused people from discrimination in housing, public accommodation and employment, and also requiring the Portland Police Bureau to keep statistics of hate crimes against the unhoused victims.  In Oregon, what is legislated in Portland and Multnomah County becomes state law in a few years.  Thus this is an important step to ensure that discrimination and hate against "homeless" individuals end.

* note: I have put "homeless" in quote marks as the word evokes a very negative stereotype which does not reflect the reality.  The word "homeless" also overgeneralizes people to the point which individual issues are glossed over based simply on the mode of living.  This is no more accurate than using the word "condo-dwellers" or "homeowners" to describe any group of people with different challenges and stories.

This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains.

An open letter to all Occupiers

An open letter to all Occupiers of #OccupyPortland #OPDX

November 11, 2011

The Day 37 of the Occupation is upon us, and the City of Portland's stated endgame time of 12:01 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 13 is approaching. To look from another angle, we have one and a half days to occupy, to say the least, and we ought to make the best of the time left. This is a time to get fired up and bring more people to the Occupation, especially those who have never been there.

The City tried to divide and polarize the movement, hoping that we would scapegoat and reproduce the 1 Percent's oppression of the unhoused people and street youth. This was a very heated issue within our community too, but ultimately we rejected this idea that some people do not belong to our movement community, and some people are not deserving of our inclusion into our community as equal members.

Instead, for the past 36 days, we have created a safer space to sleep out of rain, wind and elements, that is accessible around-the-clock, provided everyone with food and "community needs," as well as basic healthcare from the medical and wellness tents, and more importantly, a community and place for voicing their opinions and engaged in a participatory collective process.

When the politicians, bureaucrats, mass media smear campaigns, and big business interests tried us to stop this from continuing, most of you voiced a resounding no. The General Assembly upheld the collective no to injustice, prejudice, classist oppression and discrimination, and placed humanity and human needs before political expediency.

You are the conscience of Portland.

Each of you is the conscience that collectively coalesces into the worldwide #Occupy movement, which is the new, emerging conscience of the planet earth. The #Occupy movement is more than economic and political; it is also a spiritual and social movement.

I am proud of all of you for occupying in solidarity for 38 days.

You have exercised the rights enshrined in the Oregon Constitution article 1, section 3, the rights to conscience. This conscience spoke against greed, concentration of powers into the Institution, and against all forms of oppression.

You are the conscience of Portland and of the world.

I salute you. Thank you.

As we prepare for the big night at which the entire world watches, just pause and recall our many, many achievements and accomplishments so far. How far have we come. I remember the first night, and how fast we had developed into a functional village-within-a-city. We have helped end big bank greed. We have awoken and raised the consciousness of thousands and thousands of Portlanders from all walks of life.

The last five weeks have been among the most meaningful experiences in my entire life. I have learned and grown so much -- this reclusive introvert, who generally lived in her own brain and kept to herself, found herself loudly mic-checking in the General Assembly several times in one day. I learned a great deal about organizing, community-building and leadership in a way no one could in classrooms or books. Many, many times I have also discovered my own hidden prejudice and actively made actions to counter it. You all taught me very well.

I am proud of all of you.

In solidarity,

Sarah Morrigan
The #OccupyPortland Interfaith Guild of Chaplains

This is not an official statement of the Interfaith Guild of Chaplains.
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