MY FIRST CITY council meeting as the new Hall Monitor (RIP Matt Davis) was, surprise surprise, rather snoozy.
Nothing much could be decided because two of the five city commissioners, Sam Adams and Nick Fish, had to cut out early for a funeral.
What funeral could supersede working through the details of a 12 percent sewer rate hike, you ask?
Try the funeral of Keaton Otis, a 25-year-old Portlander who shot a police officer, once in each leg, during a traffic stop on May 12. Three officers returned fire, shooting Otis over 30 times.
I can only assume that it was a somber memorial—and we can all be thankful that the mayor restrained himself from live tweeting the funeral.
The politics and vitriol were reserved for the next night, May 20, when fiery talk from the Albina Ministerial Alliance lit up a crowd of about 150 blue-collar folks who gathered for a public forum on police accountability.
"We stand at a crossroads of community police relations in this town," said Reverend Doctor LeRoy Haynes. "The status quo will not stand."
The audience chanted the ground rules for the public comment period (it's creepy to hear 150 adults saying, in unison, "We will demonstrate respectful behavior"), but the evening suddenly got very serious when Marva Davis, mother of the late Aaron Campbell, rose to speak.
Slowly and powerfully, Davis described what she felt was the harassment and intimidation of her family after Campbell died when Portland police shot him in January.
The room was tense.
And then a messy-haired anarchist kid got the microphone next. "What we should be talking about is holding the pigs accountable!" he shouted, before lecturing the panel (which included several African American civil rights activists) on how they should learn the history of the Black Panther Party.
I hope one day he looks back at this night and is embarrassed—assuming his dreadlocks don't hinder him from pulling his head out of his ass.
On the anarchist's heels, a man who identified himself as Fred, Keaton's biological father, rose and spoke, near tears. Though Keaton lived with his mother and stepfather (who have not publicly criticized the police), Fred's brief, intense oration pierced the room: "Enough is enough. Every time somebody goes, it affects so many people."
This time, the moderator called for a moment of silence.