PORTLAND — The standoff between city officials and Occupy Maine protesters camped out in Lincoln Park is expected to soon shift from the City Council chambers to a courtroom.

The group will meet Sunday to decide whether to file suit against Portland, alleging that the city is violating the protesters’ First Amendment rights by not providing a permit for their encampment in Lincoln Park. The group could also seek an injunction that would prevent the city from trying to evict the protesters from the park.

However, two similar moves by Occupy groups elsewhere did not go well this week.

In Boston, a state judge refused to issue an injunction preventing the city from forcing protesters from Dewey Square and in Augusta, a federal judge ruled that the protesters could not stay in Capitol Park without a state permit.

Portland officials told Occupy Maine’s lawyer that the city would not attempt to oust the protesters from the park before the group decides its next move.

Mayor Michael Brennan said the city believes Occupy Maine will probably make a decision by early next week.

“We want to allow that process to unfold,” Brennan said Thursday after meeting with other city officials and Occupy Maine’s lawyer, John Branson.

Brennan said he also told Branson that the city would help find housing for Occupy Maine protesters if they left the park, and he proposed creating a mayor’s task force to address issues of income inequality, homelessness and the need for a 24-hour free speech zone in Portland — all core issues to Occupy Maine.

“I’d like to get beyond this encampment issue and talk about the more substantive issues” behind the Occupy movement, he said. “Maybe Occupy Maine might say they like the task force and recognize the other court rulings and (decide) this would be the best scenario.”

Branson, however, said the city’s 8-1 vote against the permit Wednesday night indicates that Portland is more concerned about working cooperatively with businesses rather than people carrying “the controversial message this group has.”

He said the permit proposal addressed city concerns about health and safety issues, and Occupy Maine “bent over backwards” to find common ground with the city, but the council dug in its heels.

“That’s not the approach they (city officials) take with large developers and corporate interests that come before them all the time,” Branson said.

While protesters before Wednesday’s City Council were making preparations for a confrontation with police, the scene at Lincoln Park on Thursday was quiet.

Macy Lamson of Augusta said she would like to stay in Lincoln Park through the winter, although she said some protesters were looking for somewhere to stay indoors through the cold weather. Some protesters are also talking about disbanding and regrouping in the spring, when the movement’s ranks could be bolstered by college students, she said.

“A lot of us want to stay here, including me,” Lamson said.

Lamson said she’s ready if the city forces protesters out of the park.

“I always have one bag packed in case I have to hightail it out of here,” she said.

The group had discussed holding a meeting on Thursday night to decide its next step. However, it decided to hold the meeting on Sunday because more people would be able to participate, said protester Matthew Coffey, 33. A time has not been set for that meeting.

“We want as many people’s opinion to be heard as possible,” Coffey said.

Coffey said he wants to invite protesters from closed-down Occupy encampments, such as Boston and New York, to Portland.

“We want to make a stand here,” he said. “Bring on the troops.”

Acting Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said police are in a holding pattern with Occupy Maine and are eager to avoid a confrontation.

He said the city “never wanted this to go into any kind of forced eviction. It may end up there, but that’s not our intention.”

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