Good Afternoon, News: Police Kicked Out of Portland Schools, 26 Counties Move to Phase 2, and George Floyd Laid to Rest

Cities around the world mourn the murder of George Floyd.
Cities around the world mourn the murder of George Floyd. David Ramos / 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'!)

• Portland Public Schools superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero announced this morning that they will be discontinuing the practice of having armed Portland Police patrolling the halls, and intends to put the funds that made their presence available towards more social workers, counselors, and more culturally-specific support options for students. Our Blair Stenvick has more.

• Last night marked the sixth night of large protests in Portland, which drew thousands for a march across the Morrison Bridge, capped by inspirational speeches, and less violence from the rioting, tear gas-happy Portland Police. Check out the full recap from the Mercury here.

• Speaking of protests: After a stunning use-of-force from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) on Tuesday night, some Portland City Council members are starting to call for reform, including the banning of tear gas and the defunding of certain PPB programs.

• Sounds like a threat to me!

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TONIGHT! It's the Savage Love Livestream!

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Even in the midst of a pandemic quarantine, you have sex and relationship worries, yes? YES, YOU DO!

That's why you don't want to miss the SAVAGE LOVE LIVESTREAM event, coming at you TONIGHT Thursday, June 4, where sex/relationship expert Dan Savage will answer your most pressing questions LIVE in this super fun Zoom event!

Need advice? Simply send your question anonymously to Livestream@savagelovecast.com, and Dan will read and answer as many questions as he can! Oh, and it gets better, because all proceeds of the Savage Love Livestream event will be donated to Northwest Harvest—distributing food to a network of more than 370 food banks, meal programs, and high-need schools.

So don't delay! Send in your question and GET YOUR TICKETS NOW AND HERE for a night of fun with Dan Savage and his sweet 'n' salty brand of no-nonsense advice! ALL YOUR PROBLEMS—SOLVED!*

*Individual results may vary.


UPDATE: Portland School District to End Regular Police Presence in Schools

Cleveland  High School, one of PPS high schools.
Cleveland High School, one of PPS' high schools. PPS

Update, Thursday 2:15 pm:

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Mayor Ted Wheeler announced that PPB's entire school resource officer unit—called the Youth Services Division—would be disbanded, meaning SROs will be removed from both PPS as well as David Douglas and Parkrose School Districts. All current SROs will be reassigned to other roles within PPB.

Wheeler added that the $1 million currently dedicated to the unit will be reallocated using a “community-driven process” to determine its new use.

“This is about the community telling us what they need," Wheeler added. "We need to listen and act.”

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HBO's I May Destroy You is a Fearless Portrayal of the Aftereffects of Sexual Assault

Michaela Coel
Michaela Coel HBO

If all you know of Michaela Coel is her work in Chewing Gum, the brilliant sitcom she created for BBC Two—and was subsequently streamed on Netflix—you will be ill-prepared for this British talent’s stunning second act, I May Destroy You.

In Chewing Gum, Coel was a manic presence, playing a twentysomething, hormone-crazed Londoner living in a colorful council estate and exploring the vast spectrum of sexuality to cringe-inducing, hilarious effect. In her new series, she’s by turns muted and enraged, introspective and terrified, but still no less confused about the world at large. And the London that Coel and director Sam Miller put on camera in Destroy is far more true to its current densely-populated state. The streets and interiors feel claustrophobic at times, lending an added sense of discomfort to its more harrowing moments.

One ugly scene in particular is the catalyst for the entire 12-episode series, which premieres on Sunday July 7 on HBO. Coel’s character Arabella, a young writer with a major online presence, is back from a trip to Italy where she was supposed to produce a manuscript for a new book. Returning with nothing, she plans an all-nighter to finish up her draft. But an invitation from her buddy Simon (Aml Ameen) proves too tempting and she’s soon out for a night of karaoke, coke bumps, and dancing. It’s at Arabella’s last stop that her drink is spiked and she is sexually assaulted by a stranger.

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Good Morning, News: Another Massive Protest, Fallout From Portland Police's Actions, and New Details on Phase 2

Wednesday evenings protest on the downtown waterfront.
Wednesday evening's protest on the downtown waterfront. Tuck Woodstock

Good morning, Portland! Here's a new inspirational poster to hang up in your home office.

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kgw

• Of course, that image comes from last night's protests of police brutality in Portland, which drew thousands into waterfront park. We had two reporters on the ground—here are our live updates from last night.

• Speaking of protests: After a stunning use-of-force from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) on Tuesday night, some Portland City Council members are starting to call for reform, including the banning of teargas and the defunding of certain PPB programs.

• Our Alex Zielinski attended a press conference where PPB discussed which tools it uses during a protest, and why. The whole thread is worth a read, but here are the main takeaways:

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Live Updates: Protesting Police Brutality in Portland on Wednesday, June 3

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Blair Stenvick

Update, 12:28 am:

The crowd of protesters has thinned out considerably, with a small contingent of diehards remaining at the fence around the Justice Center. Some have been trying to provoke...something by throwing water bottles over the fence, but have been shouted down the peaceful protesters around them and admonished by the police loudspeaker.

The good news is that the protest was a calm one tonight—a welcome change after police indiscriminately tear-gassed the throng of people around the Justice Center (including our two reporters on the scene), arrested dozens of people, and nearly ran over a handful demonstrators a police cruiser yesterday evening.

We're going to call it a night here at Mercury HQ, but like the thousands of protesters that have taken to the streets over this past week, we'll be back again tomorrow.


Update, 12:07 am:

There are still hundreds of protesters holding strong at the Justice Center with no end in sight and nothing worrisome to report. At least, that was the feeling until the police made this announcement over their loudspeaker;


Keeping a close eye on things.


Update, 11:25 pm:

The protesters clearly planned for the worst tonight (gas masks, umbrellas, leaf blowers), but they're doing what they can to make sure the demonstration doesn't reach to the levels of insanity that it did last night. Case in point:




Update, 11 pm:

Nothing much to report at this point. The Liason Officers have returned to the fence to talk with demonstrators. So far, the police have done nothing to disperse the crowd, but our reporters are noting that a chunk of the crowd have left the area. Things are... peaceful.

In other news, someone set the contents of a dumpster on fire near 4th and Oak, providing Portlanders with a visual representation of what this entire year has felt like.

Elsewhere in Oregon, another protest against police brutality went down in nearby Happy Valley earlier this evening.



Update, 10:24 pm:

Calm before the storm right now. Police loudspeakers reminded the protesters that there were children among them. KGW livestream showed PPB's Demonstration Liason Officers talking with the protesters at the fenceline. Pretty much a waiting game at this point.

Since she was probably too humble to share it herself, allow me (Robert Ham) to encourage you to read my colleague Blair Stenvick's beautiful op-ed about these ongoing protests and how police have responded to them. Here's a sample:

But last night, we saw the limits of this comfortable narrative of a peaceful protest. PPB fired off rounds of tear gas indiscriminately at large groups of protestors, only a handful of whom (if any) allegedly provoked the response. They fired from behind as people were running away. They roughed up a local journalist. They sped a vehicle through downtown streets so fast that they almost ran people over. To further exhaust an already tired metaphor, police officers made downtown Portland feel like a war zone—which is, incidentally, the opposite of peaceful.

I’d always assumed that the English word “peace” comes from the Latin word pax. But my friend Wikipedia tells me that we English speakers actually started using the word “peace” in the 1300s as a translation from the Hebrew word “Shalom.” “Shalom” is most commonly known as a greeting that can mean both “hello” and “goodbye”—but it has a deeper meaning for people of faith. At its heart, “Shalom” means whole, complete, and of healthy body and mind.

If we take “peaceful,” then, to not simply mean “without physical violence,” but also “whole and complete,” then we never had a chance at a peaceful protest. Because America—including and perhaps even especially Portland—is not whole or complete or healthy for Black people and other people of color.



Update, 10:06 pm:

Another large group of protesters have arrived at the Justice Center, adding to the numbers already there. As with the last few nights, it's just a standoff at this point—though a much brighter one as the police have installed huge floodlights that are illuminating the streets around the fence.


While you're here, take a minute and watch this powerful testimony from one of the protesters, captured by journalist and friend of the Mercury, Sergio Olmos

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What Is A Peaceful Protest?

Tuesday night in downtown Portland.
Tuesday night in downtown Portland. alex Zielinski

Over the last five days in Portland, an easy narrative has emerged about the protests against police violence and racism that have followed the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

That narrative says that there is a large majority of peaceful protestors in this city who simply want to exercise their First Amendment rights, and whose work is being undermined by a small minority of ill-intentioned agitators who just want to watch the world burn. Those agitators require police use-of-force to dispel, and gosh, it’s a shame they have to ruin things for everyone.

You can see this narrative forming in the words of the mayor and some City Council members; in the statements and tweets from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB); and in the stories the media writes about the protests—including, probably, in some of the Mercury’s own reporting.

But last night, we saw the limits of this comfortable narrative of a peaceful protest. PPB fired off rounds of tear gas indiscriminately at large groups of protestors, only a handful of whom (if any) allegedly provoked the response. They fired from behind as people were running away. They roughed up a local journalist. They sped a vehicle through downtown streets so fast that they almost ran people over. To further exhaust an already tired metaphor, police officers made downtown Portland feel like a war zone—which is, incidentally, the opposite of peaceful.

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Good Afternoon, News: Defunding the Cops, Floyd Killer Charged with 2nd Degree Murder, and More Actual Positive News!!

Protesters marching into downtown Portland, Tuesday June 2.
Protesters marching into downtown Portland, Tuesday June 2. Blair Stenvick

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 marked the most inspiring and disturbing evening of protests yet in Portland, with an estimated 10,000 Portlanders marching into town to fill Pioneer Square. The night was marred by police going on a tear gas frenzy and driving recklessly through the downtown corridor for reasons they have yet to adequately explain. For a full breakdown on what happened, check out our live blog here, and stay tuned for our protest coverage tonight.

• Following the fifth night of protests (and five nights of police using tear gas on protesters), some Portland City Council members are calling to defund the cops. Our Alex Zielinski has more.

• If you're looking for a nuanced look at the local protests, check out this great short documentary from our Arthur Bradford which depicts candid conversations between protesters and cops.

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NewsCops

City Commisioners Call to Defund Police Programs, Ban Tear Gas, After Fifth Night of Protests

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty speaking during Wednesday's virtual City Council meeting.
Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty speaking during Wednesday's virtual City Council meeting. City of Portland

Tuesday night saw a significant shift in the way the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) has responded to consecutive, nightly protests against police brutality. On Wednesday, Portland saw a shift in the way its elected officials are talking about it, too.

First, a recap of what took place last night. The evening's demonstrations began with a group of thousands marching from Southeast Portland to downtown Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square, where they merged with another gathering of several thousand Portlanders to listen to several speakers of color talk about how racist policing has impacted their lives. City officials estimate that 10,000 people turned out for this rally. By 9 pm, around a thousand of the remaining group of around 5,000 began to march away from the square towards the fenced-in perimeter around the Multnomah County Justice Center, Chapman and Lownsdale squares, and other government buildings. That's when officers warned over a mobile loudspeaker that anyone "interfering with the fence" would be "subject to use of force."

Per protester and officer accounts, several protesters chucked objects like water bottles, bats, and fireworks, over the fence at riot police standing at the other side. When confrontations with officers reached this point in past protests, officers fired "flash bang" grenades and tear gas at the front of the crowd, where the projectiles appear to be coming from. In this instance, the tear gas canisters were shot into the intersection behind the crowd, where protesters observing what was going on—but intentionally standing at what appeared to be a safe distance from the police—were gathered. This tactic effectively forced hundreds of people to run through a cloud of tear gas to escape the area, and immediately changed the tone of the evening's demonstration. The rest of the evening and early morning hours were spent with officers using copious amounts of tear gas to dismantle the protest.

Other reporters on the ground witnessed more violent responses: KGW captured video of a PPB vehicle speeding towards a group of people in the street, and Village Portland and KBOO journalist Cory Elia was physically assaulted by officers while explaining that he was a member of the press.

Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also serves as the city's police commissioner, commented on the night's police response in an early morning press conference Wednesday.

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World Famous Kenton Club Plans to Reopen on June 12

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Minh Tran

I don't know about you but one of the hardest pills to swallow during the coronavirus shutdown was not being able to kick back at a bar with a friend or two, knock back a few cocktails, and watch a band playing some loud music.

If you feel the same, please join me in letting out a huge sigh of relief, as we learned today that the World Famous Kenton Club is looking to reopen on June 12 as an outdoor hangout space complete with a stage for live shows.

A fixture of North Portland since 1947, the Kenton Club is gearing up to join the first wave of businesses to take advantage of Multnomah County entering into Phase 1 of the state's reopening plan. And to do so, they've built an outdoor area that can accommodate up to 50 people, including a full bar and food service. Their plan also includes allowing a limited number of people to hang out inside the original bar space.

According to the press release sent out by the Kenton Club, they've already lined up some performers to kick off what they're calling "semi-unplugged twilight shows," including Sean Croghan and Sarah Moon and the Bad Habits, with many more to come. They will also keep up their regular DJ nights and bingo nights, and will be announcing other events very soon.

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WATCH THIS: Portland Protesters and Police in Dialogue

From Arthur Bradfords documentary on the June 1 protest in Portland.
From Arthur Bradford's documentary on the June 1 protest in Portland. Arthur Bradford

You may know Arthur Bradford as the Mercury's Blazer correspondent, but he's also an accomplished Portland filmmaker who directed the acclaimed How's Your News? series, and has been nominated for an Emmy for his film 6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park. What follows is a short documentary that Arthur shot during the downtown Portland protests this past Monday, June 1. Here Arthur talks to protesters, to the police, and even more interestingly, captures candid conversations between cops and protesters as they try to understand each other. If you're looking for a nuanced peek inside protests that you don't see very much in the media, this documentary is a great place to start.


Help Support Portland's Black-Owned Restaurants

Steakadelphia
Steakadelphia

Yesterday we posted a list to help those looking for ways to support Portland's Black community while educating themselves about America's systemic racism.

Today, we want to take it a step further and provide a list of Black-owned/co-owned restaurants in the city that are still operating during the coronavirus shutdown and could use some patronage to make sure they can keep making food and drinks for now and into the future. Every dollar you spend there feeds the local economy while helping them continue to serve the Black community.

We put this together using the already amazing resource I Love Black Food as well as other sources, double-checking each spot to make sure they are open for business and offering pickup/delivery right now. THIS LIST IS JUST A STARTING POINT. If we've made any errors or missed out on businesses that should be included, please email us and we'll update this post.

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Don't Miss the Savage Love Livestream—TOMORROW, Thursday June 4!

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I love traveling around the country and bringing Savage Love Live to theaters near you—it's always a blast—but we're obviously not able do that right now. So we're doing the next best thing: our first-ever livestream show! The Savage Love Livestream goes down—goes up? goes live?—TOMORROW June 4th at 7 PM PST.

You can send me questions beforehand at livestream@savagelovecast.com, or you can ask questions live during the show. I’ll do my best to answer as many as I can, only this time I’ll be answering them on Zoom in your living room. Or your bedroom. Or your bathroom. Or your dungeon. It's up to you!

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Good Morning, News: In Portland, a City Unites While Its Police Spiral Out of Control

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KGW video of a police cruiser crashing through barricade and almost striking protesters, last night.
KGW video of a police cruiser crashing through barricade and almost striking protesters, last night. Courtesy KGW

GOOD MORNING, PORTLAND. I usually try to start my morning news updates in a more chipper manner, but to be honest I'm feeling pretty disillusioned this morning by certain Portland public servants who spent a good part of last night terrorizing the people who pay their salary. I'll explain.

A CITY UNITED: Yesterday's march and rally in Portland to honor the memory of George Floyd—killed by a Minneapolis police officer—began in an amazingly positive way, with thousands gathering on each side of the Willamette and coming together in downtown's Pioneer Courthouse Square in a startling and inspiring show of unity. Check out this footage of a nine-minute "die in" (to represent the nine minutes the officer had his knee on George Floyd's neck) on the Burnside Bridge.

Here's the recap I wrote very early this morning from our protest liveblog that explains what happened next. (Click the links for tweets with video and pictures.)

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 9 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 (Alex Zielinski and Blair Stenvick) 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.

This was a very condensed version of what happened and leaves out a lot of scary stuff. Check the Mercury's live blog for a blow-by-blow account of what happened. But here are a few particularly memorable (which is to say very disturbing) scenes.

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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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