Venus Hayes, mother of 17-year-old Quanice Hayes, speaks about her sons death in March.
Venus Hayes, mother of 17-year-old Quanice Hayes, speaks about her son's death in March. Doug Brown

On Wednesday, May 24, Portland City Council did something unprecedented. At the request of the family of Quanice Hayes, the 17-year-old shot and killed by Portland police in February, the council held a formal hearing simply to listen.

There was no ordinance or resolution to consider, no council decision to be made. Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Chloe Eudaly instead had blocked off two hours of council time and handed the floor to Hayes' grandmother, Donna, to call witnesses and speak as she saw fit.

The hearing wasn't unanimously praised—there were grumblings in City Hall about the precedent it set, and whether every person with a grievance with the city would be allowed to demand a listening session from here on out (they won't). We're told members of the Portland Police Bureau had concerns, too. But the meeting also, hopefully, helped family members and others gain some small measure of catharsis in this city whose fraught racial history is making itself seen and heard so often these days.

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If you missed the hearing, there's still a video online, but we thought it would be worthwhile to post the full transcript here. This is a draft of the official transcript, with errors and punctuation not yet corrected. It's worth your time.