by Andrew Crisp
The same judge who originally issued a decision allowing Occupy Boise protesters to remain encamped indefinitely has also issued a ruling requiring the group to temporarily vacate the lawns of the Old Ada County Courthouse.
U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill, after a request from the Idaho Department of Administration, ordered the protesters to vacate the lawn by Wednesday so the condition of the grass could be assessed.
Occupy members could be asked to leave for as many as eight weeks, and they must remove personal possessions by Wednesday, according to Winmill's order. The Department of Administration has until mid-August to complete the assessment.
Protesters may then return to the lawn, but cannot impede regular lawn maintenance for the duration of the encampment vigil. Mowing, watering and other lawn-care procedures must be accommodated by the Occupy camp.
The tents pitched at the Old Ada County Courthouse have been standing since November 2011, though the numbers have since dwindled to a small grouping of tents of the lawn off Sixth Street. Areas of the property that formerly held tents show overgrown grass and a few isolated patches of dead grass.
Department of Administration Director Teresa Luna has estimated that repairing the lawn could cost thousands of dollars.