Occupy Vancouver plans to take Wall Street protest to city hall

By Kathie Durbin, Columbian staff writer

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Occupy Vancouver organizers plan to ask the city of Vancouver Monday evening to withdraw some of its money from the Bank of America and deposit it in a community bank.

Organizer Dan Walker said five or six members of the movement “are going to raise the question of whether or not there is a possibility of moving city funds from the Bank of America to a local bank” to make an anti-Wall Street statement.

“It’s actually something that was brought up at some of our general assembly meetings, that the city does not bank locally,” Walker said. “As a group we decided it would be something we would all be pursuing.”

Occupy Vancouver protesters first raised the issue on Nov. 5, dubbed “Bank Transfer Day,” when consumers nationally mounted a revolt against big national banks by transferring their money to local credit unions and community banks. About 20 protesters demonstrated in front of Vancouver City Hall that day to demand that the city stop doing business with Bank of America.

Lloyd Tyler, the city’s chief financial officer, issued a memo on Nov.1 stating that in June 2010, the city, Clark County and the Port of Vancouver issued a joint request for proposals for financial services to 14 full-service financial institutions. Four national banks and no local banks responded, he said. Both the city and the county ranked Bank of American the highest of the national banks on a series of evaluation criteria.

Occupy Vancouver had a small rally and march Saturday, but Walker said there was no organized effort to join the Occupy Portland standoff in downtown Portland. The movement will hold future general assemblies at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays in the Klickitat Room of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library.

Walker did not attend the standoff in Portland but monitored it closely via a live video feed. “I actually think it went a lot better than it could have gone,” he said. “I really think the Portland police handled it the best way they could.”

He also complimented the protesters. “There were a few people trying to agitate others and get something started, but the protesters pushed them aside and said they were trying to cause problems. In every movement you are going to have those few people.”

Vancouver police sent 12 officers to assist the Portland Police Bureau on Sunday. Those officers are collateral members of the civil disturbance team, meaning they have special training to respond to crowd control events but have regular full-time jobs with the Vancouver Police Department, spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.

Kapp said the team is used primarily to assist other agencies, including the Portland Police Bureau, under mutual aid agreements. She said she was not aware of any situation in which the team has been deployed in Vancouver.

Paul Suarez contributed to this report.