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Live Updates: Protesting the Death of George Floyd in Downtown Portland, Night Five

Tuesday, June 2: A crowd of thousands march toward downtown Portland.
Tuesday, June 2: A crowd of thousands march toward downtown Portland. Blair Stenvick

UPDATE 12:15 AM: Due to the dangerous situation and loss of control exhibited by the Portland Police, we have pulled our reporters off the street for the night. It's simply too dangerous for them to be out there right now. We'll continue to monitor the situation and update you tomorrow.

TO RECAP: The evening started out extremely uplifting with an estimated 10,000 people protesting in Portland to end police brutality, many marching across the Burnside Bridge and meeting up with thousands more downtown at Pioneer Square. At the 10 pm hour things went sideways when protesters, marching to the fenced Justice Center were gassed from the front and the rear by police. Our reporters were among the hundreds affected, many of whom were innocent bystanders. The majority of the crowd marched out of town, while roughly 1,000 protesters returned to the Justice Center. After a 30 minute standoff, police claimed that some sort of projectiles were thrown at them, sending them into tear gassing fury, throwing gas canisters at any random grouping that was in range. In short, this was FAR MORE gas than has been used during this series of protests, and under FAR LESS provocation. In short, the Portland Police department lost their shit tonight, and there will be many questions to be answered tomorrow.

Thank you all for joining us tonight, and I especially thank our on-the-ground reporters Alex Zielinski and Blair Stenvick who were insanely brave, even while being gassed by police more than once. If you appreciate their dedication to keeping Portland informed, I hope you will consider donating to keep their work going at the Portland Mercury. They certainly deserve your support. We'll see you in the morning.

UPDATE MIDNIGHT: Hat tips to all my journos still out there at the midnight hour. And I'd like to remind Portland Police to keep your goddamn mitts off journalists!

Our Alex Zielinski is still out on the street—AND HAS BEEN AT THIS FOR THE LAST FIVE DAYS LET'S NOT FORGET—and doing her job.



WELP! I guess we can safely say that the "Nice Dad" the Portland Police was pretending to be has decided he's had enough with home life, and is going to live with his girlfriend.

UPDATE 11:45 PM: Personal note: I would like to be acknowledged for having the forethought to run to the liquor store this afternoon and buy a nice, big bottle of vodka. Thank you for your acknowledgement.

Somebody must have touched the fence:



And here comes the cloud.

What the police say:


(I bet someone touched the fence.)



"Mean Dad" is trying so hard to be nice.


And look what's going on now in Seattle! For once we're equal.

UPDATE 11:30 PM: While this standoff continues, let's check across the Burnside Bridge where our Blair Stenvick has followed a crowd across the river.


Meanwhile... BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FENCE?!?!




UPDATE 11:15 PM: After a brief stopover at Pioneer Square, where speeches and skateboard tricks were made, the crowd is making their way back to the Justice Center.





UPDATE 11 PM: Here's the scene currently in Pioneer Square:




Meanwhile across town....

Probably unrelated.

UPDATE 10:45 PM: It's taking awhile to figure out what's going on downtown. We know that a lot of people have left the downtown core via the Burnside Bridge. Meanwhile factions of protesters have split apart but seem to be drifting back together at Pioneer Square.

It's definitely a place where the cops do NOT want you to be.


A very important point that will be brought up later:

And a new, very different rally in Pioneer Square has begun.

Here's something we'll be asking the department about tomorrow:


UPDATE 10:30 PM: As thousands make their way out of town, a brawl between protesters and police has erupted downtown.

It's chaos.



A good question from Blair:

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Things You Can Do to Support the Black Community and Promote Anti-Racist Efforts

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Alex Zielinski

Note: This post is not a one-stop-shop for people looking for easy advocacy on-the-go. It's not a checklist, syllabus, or an all-in-one link repository. This is a starting point, intended for those looking to more effectively spend their time, energy, and resources to benefit Black people through direct financial assistance and personal (re-) education on issues directly affecting Black communities. This is a beginning—and as you visit, bookmark, subscribe, and donate to the sites and accounts below, keep your eyes and ears open to the suggestions they make, too.

Support Black-Owned Businesses

The Mercatus Business Directory
An interactive map and list with links to Black-owned businesses in the Portland Metro area, organized by sector and community.

I Love Black Food
A user-updated directory of Black-owned restaurants, food carts, and eateries, created for "Support Black-Owned Restaurants Week." Check this list next time you're looking to order-in for dinner.

Black PDX
A combination business-listing and community calendar specifically for Black Portlanders.

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Good Afternoon, News: Mostly Peaceful Portland Protest, No Curfew Tonight, and Barr Orders Assault in Name of King Trump

Do I look like the sort of person who would order an attack on peaceful protesters and clergy, just so my grand, exalted leader Trump could have a photo op?
"Do I look like the sort of person who would order an attack on peaceful protesters and clergy, just so my grand, exalted leader Trump could have a photo op?" Bill Pugliano / Getty News

Here's your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider donating to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)

• Last night saw a fourth night of protests against police violence and the killing of George Floyd throughout Portland. It was the most peaceful night we've seen so far—both from the thousands of protestors and the Portland Police Bureau (PPB)—though there was a midnight clash between a crowd of 100 and cops which ended in arrests. You can check out our live updates from the night here. More protests are planned for the night, stay tuned to the Mercury for live updates.

• The hours leading up to last night's protests, however, were decidedly less chill. PPB blocked off 16 blocks in the city's downtown core, and Gov. Kate Brown announced she would send National Guard troops and Oregon State Troopers to provide backup for PPB. They didn't make a public appearance last night, however.

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Delete Your Black Square Post

Please do me a favor and dont post this black square on your Instagram.
Please do me a favor and don't post this black square on your Instagram. Courtesy of Wikiquote
Late last night and early this morning, a flood of black squares filled my Instagram feed. The posts were part of Blackout Tuesday, a "social media movement" (a.k.a. chainmail) meant to visually symbolize a moment of silence taken in honor of George Floyd, a Black man killed by Minneapolis police, and express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

These posts quickly became counterproductive—many users included #BlackLivesMatter in their caption, flooding the hashtag with blacked-out posts. People who were using the hashtag to communicate about bail funds and other important protest information suddenly drowned in a sea of well-meaning non-Black people posting about not posting. This then prompted a wave of Black Lives Matter organizers and other users on both Twitter and Instagram asking to remove #BlackLivesMatter from the posts.

Here is St. Louis activist Kenidra Woods demonstrating the problem:

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How Protesters Around the World Shield Themselves From Tear Gas and Pepper Spray

Protesters protect the crowd with umbrellas on Seattle's Capitol Hill.
Protesters protect the crowd with umbrellas on Seattle's Capitol Hill. Omari Salisbury / phloating_man on Reddit

[The following was originally posted in Seattle's The Stranger.—eds]

You’ve probably seen the video by now: A line of protesters faces a line of cops on Seattle's Capitol Hill, an eye-catching purple umbrella held toward police as a shield. There’s no sign of aggression until a cop decides he wants the umbrella; there’s a short tussle; and then the police let loose the chemical agents against the crowd.

As they spray, other protestors hold up shields of their own, which the cops dart forward to try to grab as well. But most of those shields are just out of reach, allowing a small group of protestors to remain on the south side of the street. In similar protests against state violence around the world, shields have emerged as an important mechanism to keep people safe from security forces—so let’s take a look at how other protestors have shielded themselves and others.

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Checking Up On... Sahel Sounds, the Portland Label Bringing the Music of West Africa to the World

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Sahel Sounds

For the better part of a decade, Christopher Kirkley has been a conduit, funneling the music of West Africa to the rest of the world through his record label Sahel Sounds. It’s been a passion project for the Portland native, fueled by his love of the music from Mali and Niger, and a desire to financially support artists that might otherwise quietly scrape by through cash earned from gigs at weddings and rallies. And it’s through his label that global music lovers have come to learn about artists like the Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar, the Bamako-based rap group Supreme Talent Show, and the all-female ensemble Les Filles de Illighadad.

Sahel Sounds made its first splash in 2011 with the release of Music from Saharan Cellphones, a compilation of tracks salvaged from the SIM cards of discarded mobile phones—the recording studio and music sharing device of choice for many West African artists. In recent years, musicians have started embracing WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messaging app, capturing their performances and sending them to friends and family. Quick to catch on to the trend, Kirkley has been releasing digital EPs collecting some of these recordings for each month of 2020… but only for a limited time.

The latest of these releases is the best one yet, featuring four songs from Amaria Hamadalher, a rare female guitarist in Agadez, Niger—the hub for Tuareg music—who recently joined Les Filles de Illighadad. It’s one of the most joyous records I’ve heard this year and the perfect salve for our strange and difficult times.

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Good Morning, News: Portlanders Protest Peacefully, National Guard Summoned, and Trump Tear Gasses Demonstrators

We need your help. The economic fallout of the coronavirus has threatened our ability to keep producing the Mercury. If you’re able, please consider donating to the Mercury.

alex.jpg
Alex Zielinski

Good morning, Portland! What a wild four days we've had, huh?

Here are the headlines.

• Last night saw a fourth night of protests agains police violence and the killing of George Floyd throughout Portland. It was the most peaceful night we've seen so far—both from protestors and the Portland Police Bureau (PPB). You can check out our live updates from the night here.

• The hours leading up to those protests, however, were decidedly less chill. PPB blocked off 16 blocks in the city's downtown core, and Gov. Kate Brown announced she would send National Guard troops and Oregon State Troopers to provide backup for PPB. They didn't make a public appearance last night, however.

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Live Updates: Portland Protests Against Police Brutality on Monday, Night Four

Downtown Portland on Sunday night.
Downtown Portland on Sunday night. Mercury staff

Update, 11 pm:

After spending about half an hour occupying the Burnside Bride, folks are starting to call it a night—and making plans for tomorrow:

Per Alex, there's a few people who seem set to stick around, but the majority of people are heading off the bridge. This night of protesting appears to have gone about as smoothly as could have been hoped for—no National Guard required. PPB is emphasizing how peaceful the protest is in their messaging.

It's time for the Mercury's live blog to say goodnight—chances are, we'll be back at it again tomorrow night. Huge kudos to Alex and Steve for being on the ground tonight.

And now, one last dance:

Update, 10:30 pm:

The march from Pioneer Courthouse Square to Burnside Bridge was a musical one. From the Oregonian's Beth Nakamura:

And it looks like Steve's made it to the bridge! More chanting of "Whose streets? Our streets!"

Also, I regret to inform you that someone with very poor manners and unfortunately foul language has temporarily hijacked the Mercury's Twitter:

(Just kidding, it was me. Fuck you, Tucker Carlson!)

Update, 10:15 pm:

We're on the move again! Folks are moving out of Pioneer Courthouse Square, and the plan is to occupy the Burnside Bridge next.

Also, we've got an Officer Debbie Downer on our hands:

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NewsCops

Gov. Brown Sending 100 State Troopers, 50 National Guard Soldiers to Portland Tonight

Gov. Kate Brown watches as Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty speaks at a Monday afternoon press conference.
Gov. Kate Brown watches as Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty speaks at a Monday afternoon press conference. Governor Kate Brown

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has activated 50 members of the National Guard and one hundred Oregon State Troopers to assist Portland law enforcement's response to continuing demonstrations following the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

In an afternoon press conference, Brown explained that National Guard soldiers will not be carrying weapons or be on the front lines of the protests. Instead, these soldiers will be working "behind the scenes" to assist law enforcement in processing protester arrests and providing medical care.

"Our goal should be to reduce violence," she said. "You don't diffuse violence by putting soldiers on our streets. Having soldiers on the streets of America is exactly what [Donald] Trump wants."

Brown said that Trump, on a Monday morning call with all US governors, made it clear that he "wants governors to deploy the National Guard as a show of force to intimidate the public." That's not what Oregon members of the National Guard will be doing in Portland, according to Brown.

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Good Afternoon, News: Gov. Brown Deploys National Guard, a Weekend of Protests, and Trump Declares War on Americans

Hi. Trump just declared war on American citizens.
Hi. Trump just declared war on American citizens. Twitter Screen Shot

Here's your daily roundup of all the latest local and national news. (Like our coverage? Please consider donating to the Mercury to keep it comin'!)

• This afternoon, Gov. Kate Brown gave a press conference announcing that she'll be deploying 50 National Guard troops and 100 State Troopers to Portland to assist local police in "managing" tonight's protest—even though I'm pretty sure that an even bigger force of militarized police will only succeed in downtown seeing twice as many protesters. However, according to Brown, the National Guard will only be there to process arrests, and will not be armed.

• This weekend, Portland saw three nights of varied protests, including a peaceful vigil in North Portland, a frenzy of broken windows, theft, burning banks, tear gas downtown, and a large march of chanting demonstrators winding through Portland's Eastside. Here's the Mercury's live, on-the-ground coverage from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Last night 12 people were arrested, and you can surely expect more tonight. In fact, it has already started.

• Meanwhile, a Gresham police officer shot and killed a man in Southeast Portland yesterday evening. The exact details of the shooting have yet to come out — but we're paying attention.

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Police Close Blocks in Downtown Portland as Protests Continue Monday Afternoon

Portland police wore riot gear at a protest in downtown Portland on Saturday evening.
Portland police wore riot gear at a protest in downtown Portland on Saturday evening. blair Stenvick

As Portland protests against police violence continue Monday afternoon, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has closed a large swath of downtown Portland to people and vehicles:

According to reporting from KOIN, the closure came in response to protestors beginning to gather in the area.

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Multnomah County Libraries to Start No-Contact Pickup Service on June 8

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Multnomah County Library

Multnomah County Library announced today that they will begin no-contact, appointment-only pickup of reserved materials starting on June 8.

The rollout for this new service will start with just four library branches—Central, Gresham, Midland, and North Portland—before expanding out to other locations through the month. Also, on June 8, all Multnomah County Library branches will open up their book drops for the return of borrowed materials. All items will be quarantined for 72 hours.

Patrons will have to call and make an appointment and then stop by their chosen branch to pick them up. After giving their name to library staff, they will be asked to give the employee distance until the books are brought out and left for them on the pickup table. Full instructions on how to use the pickup system can be found here.

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A Note from the Mercury’s Editor: Eyes and Hearts

We are united.
"We are united." Wm. Steven Humphrey

Hey good friends,

Last night was Sunday, May 31, and I along with a couple thousand others were out on the street in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center. I was covering the rally to remember George Floyd and end police brutality, because a) sure, that’s my job, b) our small staff is severely overworked, and c) I’m in the give-a-crap club. I’ve adored Portland from the moment I arrived, and while our current hellscape seems to be inexplicably getting even worse, being out there with you last night reminded me how much I adore you.

Look, I know how the media can misrepresent protests—and while the Mercury tries to avoid it, even we fall into time-worn traps of focusing on the result of destruction (broken windows, looting) rather than the cause (economic and racial disparity, an unnecessarily-militarized police force). So I want to take a moment to describe something I saw last night that doesn’t fall into that narrative.

It was around 11:30 pm, and I (and at least a thousand more) had been gassed, flash-banged, and chased around the downtown corridor for hours. We had returned to the Justice Center, and the crowd was overwhelmingly polite. In fact, every single time I saw someone act out—trying to distribute fireworks, toss water bottles at cops—they were immediately shut down by fellow protesters.

In any case, late in the evening something happened that made the cops nervous, and once again flash bangs flew, and tear gas filled the air. The majority of the crowd was forced back into the downtown area, though one small group didn’t move. They were nose-to-nose with a line of riot cops on the south side of the building, just out of distance from the gas. I didn’t run, because they didn’t.

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TriMet Service, Shelters and Signs Impacted by Protests Against Police Violence

A police flashbang grenade went off near a TriMet MAX stop in downtown Portland on Saturday evening.
A police flashbang grenade went off near a TriMet MAX stop in downtown Portland on Saturday evening. blair Stenvick

Protests broke out across Portland this weekend, as part of a nationwide response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The large crowds of protestors and sizeable police response left swaths of downtown Portland inaccessible to transit trains and buses.

In the midst of unpredictable protest patterns and a heavy police response, TriMet riders have been left with little warning regarding when service will be delayed or suspended, and which areas are safe to travel through. All five MAX lines and many TriMet bus routes run through downtown Portland, meaning service has been impacted throughout the region.

“The past several days and nights, we have had to adjust service for the safety of our riders, operators, and equipment,” TriMet spokesperson Roberta Altstadt wrote in an email to the Mercury. “Altering train and bus service also is for the safety of the demonstrators and law enforcement who may find themselves in the streets we travel… Adjusting service has been done quickly, with little warning. That is for the safety of everyone, and following the guidance of police.”

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Watch Gov. Kate Brown's 3 pm Press Conference on Oregon Protests

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Governor Kate Brown

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown will hold a press conference this afternoon, on the heels of three consecutive days of statewide demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

The press release announcing the media event didn't mention its focus, but the timing suggests Brown will discuss the statewide response to past and future protests related to police brutality.

At a morning press conference, Mayor Ted Wheeler and the state US Attorney Billy Williams called on Brown to activate the National Guard to help Portland law enforcement protect government buildings from protesters. She has not yet responded to this request.

Brown will be joined by Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, State Representative Janelle Bynum, State Senator Lew Frederick, and Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton.

Follow along here at 3 pm: