By MARY CALLAHAN and JULIE JOHNSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
A lone camper found asleep early Thursday morning amid mounds of detritus left behind after a month-long occupation of the lawn at Santa Rosa City Hall was the last to leave after city-issued camping permits expired.
Later Thursday, just over a mile north on the Santa Rosa Junior College campus, students re-launched the Occupy movement on campus in preparation for a march on Saturday. The group plans to focus on a local issue important to students – getting back a longtime scholarship program run by Exchange Bank that officials halted in 2008.
Occupy Santa Rosa, which began with marches downtown and developed into a tent encampment outside City Hall, came to a quiet end.
After protesters moved out after refusing to agree to 15-day city permits, the mostly homeless residents camped together on the west lawn vacated what briefly was a communal campground complete with a lounge and kitchen area.
A police raid last week rousted those camping without permits, destroying unpermitted tents. Those who remained voluntarily cleared out Wednesday, police Sgt. Clay Van Artsdalen said.
A city cleanup crew hit the area Thursday to clean up cardboard, garbage and other debris.
What’s next remains unclear, as some in the Occupy movement have vowed to “reoccupy” City Hall in some fashion.
“If they want to stand out on the corner and protest, they are more than welcome to do that,” Van Artsdalen said.
SRJC students will take to the streets Saturday.
Students sitting in the grass Thursday in front of the Frank P. Doyle Library planned what they called an “informational march.”
Sustainable agriculture major Angelo Silva, 25, said he and others wanted to channel people’s frustration into a local issue in which they may make a difference.
“It’s important to do something so no more gets taken away,” said Candace Morales, 48, a social services student.
Students will gather at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in front of Santa Rosa City Hall. Speakers will include Jay Scherf, a sophomore who will talk about the Doyle Trust’s 60-year history of providing the Doyle scholarships to students. They’ll then march to the Exchange Bank’s Roseland branch on Dutton Avenue.
Exchange Bank officials stopped awarding Doyle Trust scholarships in 2008 after the bank suspended its dividend, the scholarship’s funding source.
Bank officials have said they hope to reinstate the scholarship when the economy becomes more stable.
Students gathered Thursday said they want school representatives to be involved in the scholarship board’s decisions.