Future of OccupyMaine Encampment at Lincoln Park To Be Decided by City Council; That Date To Be Determined

OM Representives Evan McVeigh (L) Meets with Attorney John Branson Seated (R) with Brian Leonard Standing Right - Prior to City Hall Meeting. In background seated, is Ted Musgrove.

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,025)

Occupy Maine will begin the process of applying for a permit to remain at Lincoln Park this week. Then the city council will vote on whether or not to approve the permit, with limitations. The details of the limitations are yet to be worked out, but it will include limitations on how many tents are permitted in the Park and how close they are to each other, said authorities at a press conference at city hall late this afternoon. The press conference followed a meeting that lasted 1 l/2 hours in the city manager’s office.

The meeting was requested by Gary Wood, corporation counsel, in a letter dated November 18 in order to discuss matters of mutual concern – mostly the number of phone calls to the police department recently and safety issues such as code violations. The police department is concerned that the number of service calls might escalate in the future and OM representatives will meet with the code enforcement office prior to Thanksgiving to work on those issues.

John Branson, attorney for OM, said occupants of Lincoln Park will be expected to sign a social pact of conduct to stay there. Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said that it’s in the very early stages of development, but the city will maintain a list of individuals allowed to camp there. Just how a person gets on that list has not been determined. This information was to be presented to the General Assembly, “GA”, for its approval at 6 pm.

Six repesentatives of OccupyMaine attended the meeting as well as attorney Branson. Deese Hamilton, who attended, said he was satisfied with the meeting and that everyone had an opportunity to have their say. Brian Leonard said the issues at OccupyMaine are a microcosm of Portland’s society as a whole. Referring to Schisler’s arrest, he said: “We can prepare them to go to war and we don’t take care of them when they come home.” (Schisler fought in both Iraq and Afghanastan as a US Marine.)

During the meeting, Pat O’Connor, formerly of the media team for OccupyMaine said: “It was a vile action and we are not a violent movement (referring to Schisler’s assault on Porter.) These are societal problems – homelessness and addicitons. OccupyMaine has had an open door policy because these people have no where to go. It was a fight between two people that got out of control, but now it is being used to undermine the whole movement.”

On a related manner, Chris Schisler, was arraigned in Maine District Court today in Portland for aggravated assault on Alan Porter last week at Lincoln Park. The Judge was Jeff Moskowitz with Scott Hood, Esq. appointed his attorney. A dispositional conference was set for January 11, 2012 for Schisler with possible jury selection in February.

City Manager Mark Rees said he would have to consult with Mayor-Elect Brennan to determine when the matter would be on the city council’s agenda for its permit approval for the OM encampment at Lincoln Park.

For more background information, please see Post # 1,023, dated November 20th herein.