by April Foster
As the winter months advance and the outdoors become less inviting, Occupy Boise is hard at work trying to keep campers warm and maintain the local movement's momentum. Even so, the numbers at the marches and rallies have dropped substantially since the group's first actions, and the bustle at the encampment is practically nil at certain times of the day.
As the movement’s honeymoon period comes to an end, organizers are busy at work trying to maintain steady numbers and involvement.
“There’s probably less people now,” said Occupier Glen “Angel” Garity. “When I got here we had a whole bunch of people that were all hopefuls and excited about it, but as soon as the cold weather hit we lost about a quarter of our people that were staying here. They still come back on the weekends, but most of them have homes that they go to.“
“It’s a vigil of indefinite length. That’s what we said when we setup camp and we mean it,” said Shavone Hasse, a member of Occupy Boise. “Of course, we have seen some drop off in folks who are able to stay here and sleep here all of the time because of the winter weather, but we’re holding strong.”
“We actually have more tents now than when we first started,” said Occupier Richard Morgan. “They just can’t always be down here every night. I say about half of the tents are full any given night. It might not be the same tent though.”
Even though the physical number of bodies at the encampment has declined, members of the group claim that the overall community support is on the rise, and that they still intend to stick it out for the long haul.
“At the beginning of it you have this mad rush of idealism and then the reality of having to work with each other and what that means, and how that works kicks in, and I think that’s where we’re at right now,” said Hasse. “We’ve seen smaller numbers, that’s true, but that said, I do think we have a very strong base of community we have built and we are starting to slowly grow out of that base.“
“If we make it to summer we will fill this yard,” said Garity. “I believe that the tents will start popping up. I think we have a lot of supporters. We didn’t lose any supporters, we just lost campers.”