Protesting Wall Street
5:41 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Occupy Seattle gets reprieve from eviction, takes up squatting

Occupy Seattle can occupy the community college campus on Capitol Hill in Seattle at least until Friday, when a court hearing will decide if the college has the right to boot them off campus.

Meanwhile, some Occupy members in Seattle and along the West Coast have shifted from occupying with tents to occupying abandoned houses.

Eviction notice

The trustees of the Seattle Community College system approved a vote for an emergency rule banning camping on college properties for 120 days in response to the Occupy encampment on the Seattle Central Community College campus.

“Our goal is to ensure an orderly process for the campers to leave Seattle Central Community College,” said Seattle Community Colleges Chancellor Jill Wakefield in a press release. She said officials would be meeting with the camper to notify them that they need to move.

The emergency rule was passed due to health, safety, and security reasons concerning the campus, students, faculty, staff and campers, the college said. Officials noted that the Seattle-King County Environmental Health Services Division observed multiple health and safety issues, including excessive garbage accumulation, improper food handling, feces and drug and alcohol use.

Postponed eviction

The emergency rule was scheduled to start as of Monday, Nov. 28, but has been postponed to Friday, Dec. 2, on account of a court hearing.

Seattle Central Community College received a call last Wednesday from Thurston County Superior Court notifying that a protester had filed a motion for a temporary restraining order against the college. The college has agreed not to post the emergency rule prohibiting camping on all Seattle Community Colleges’ grounds until the hearing.

“I’m not bringing in the movers Monday,” Wakefield told Seattlepi.com. “My goal is that the campers are able to find a new home, and we can do this peacefully.”

Squatting tactics

To continue their protests on wealth inequality, Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in Seattle, Portland and Oakland have begun squatting in vacant properties.

Squatting marks a move away from the public demonstrations that have been a marquee of the national protest, one that is attempting to re-energize the protests in Oakland and Portland — two cities that have seen violent clashes with police and evictions from parks.

But police have already moved in at least one city. Portland police officers have arrested more than a dozen people trying to squat in a home in the city.

Costly camping at the college

According to the Seattle PI, roughly $20,000 is spent a week to hire extra security guards, following an assault arrest, and more clean-up crews to pick up garbage. The PI also reported that the camp consists of about 150 protesters, 60 tents, and a dozen large dogs.

Other legal problems have occurred at the camp including a sexual assault of a woman that Seattle police have been investigating, according to The Seattle Times.

On the Web:

Our round-up of Occupy college stories