City Refunds Target After Occupy Protests Displace Westlake Promo

The city is refunding $3,600 worth of permit fees to the Target corporation after Occupy Seattle protesters spoiled the company’s three-day promotional event in Westlake Park.

After Occupy Seattle protesters took over Westlake Park earlier this month without getting a permit, the city received several phone calls from the Target Corp. The retailer, which, it should be noted, caters to the 99 percent, had booked the plaza.

According to Mayor Mike McGinn’s spokesman Aaron Pickus, Target paid for a three-day permit in Westlake Park to promote a new Target store coming to 2nd Ave. and Union St.

For two days, Target employees passed out bags of apples, lemons, and pears to people in and around the park. By the third day, growing tension between the Occupy protesters and Target employees led a rep from the company to call the city to complain.

“I think there might have been some interaction between the two groups that was not very positive,” says parks department spokeswoman Dewey Potter, who added her department does not typically issue permits for simultaneous events in a park.

City officials point out that Target initially had no problems with the protest and paid for several portable toilets in the park, however, “They were unhappy and they told us so,” says Pickus.”Our office spoke with them and refunded the permit acknowledging there was a conflict in uses of the park.”

The city began processing Target’s $3,660 permit fee refund last week. It’s not clear whether the city has actually cut a check yet.

We have a call in to Target for comment.