Judge: Seattle College Can Evict Protesters
SEATTLE, Wash. (CBS Seattle/AP) Occupy Seattle protesters say they’re looking for a new base, possibly an abandoned warehouse, after a judge ruled Friday that Seattle Central Community College can evict them from the campus.
The Thurston County Superior Court judge denied a protester’s request for an injunction that would have allowed the demonstrators to continue camping there.
“I’m disappointed but I’m not surprised,” said Mark Taylor-Canfield, a spokesman for Occupy Seattle. “It’s happened at every occupation around the country.”
CBS Seattle recently spoke with Taylor-Canfield, who volunteers for the movement’s media group. At that time, Taylor-Canfield mentioned the possibility of eviction, and commented on the college’s actions.
“What ever happened to compassion and thankfulness, the themes of this national holiday? The college is now giving Occupy Seattle a gift for the holidays: it’s called an eviction,” he said to CBS Seattle in an e-mail. “I wonder how the college president and the board of regents can sleep at night.”
The protesters moved from Seattle’s Westlake Park to the campus in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood more than a month ago.
In late November, college trustees adopted an emergency rule banning camping, a move aimed at evicting the protesters.
College administrators said there have been reports of vandalism and they can’t afford to pay for extra security. They also cited health and safety issues, including garbage accumulation, improper food handling, and disposal of human and animal waste.
Seattle Central said in a written statement that administrators would post its new emergency rule banning camping early next week and let the protesters know they need to leave.
Late last month, CBS Seattle reported on the movement’s efforts to block the eviction by filing for a restraining order.
Taylor-Canfield said Occupy Seattle had already endorsed looking into other options for a permanent base, including the possibility of taking over an abandoned warehouse that could provide shelter for 100 people, or using donated money to lease a space.
Occupy Seattle will also continue to maintain at least an informational tent at Westlake Center, he said, and hold occasional demonstrations there.
“It’s not going to stop the movement at all,” he said. “There will still be protests at the banks and corporations and local and state governments, because we want to affect the system.”
Squatting is becoming an increasingly popular tactic for long-term occupants, to the chagrin of some neighbors and the delight of others.
The movement has been protesting cuts to social programs in Washington state, and Taylor-Canfield described Seattle Central administrators’ concern about sanitation and safety on the campus as misplaced. The encampment has provided free food, which has drawn a number of homeless people.
“If local governments or the federal governments won’t do this,” he said, “then who’s going to do it?”
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