blair Stenvick

Update, 1 am:

Police have started arresting people downtown, and groups seem to be pretty scattered at this point. Here's Sergio with some crucial footage:

We're officially calling our coverage for tonight, though I'm sure we'll have plenty to follow-up with tomorrow and for the foreseeable future. Sleep tight, Portland, and stay safe.

Update, 12:45 am:

Our reporters are heading home, as it's no longer safe for them to be reporting downtown. Here's a few revealing videos from the last 45 minutes.

Police: Move to the west. Pedestrian: We're going home! Police: You have to move this way.

More flash bangs and chaos downtown:

Alex Zielinski on the "PPB livestream" beat:

Update, 12:05 am:

After declaring a civil disturbance and closing downtown, police have started using flash bangs and some type of chemical agent that produces smoke:

Alex says she can hear the flash bangs from close-in Southeast Portland. The crowd-control munitions are causing people to scatter around downtown, though our reporters are still with a sizable crowd:

Update, 11:45 pm:

Aaaaand this just in:

Update, 11:30 pm:

The tension at the Justice Center fence continues to build, but has not yet reached a crescendo. There's lots of fence shaking and some water bottles being thrown—PPB says their are sling shots as well. Police have been firing more pepper balls.

Suzette, hanging back in the park, is not impressed:

Our news editor, Alex Zielinski, tells me she just heard this from a demonstrator on the police livestream: "The death of George Floyd was an unlawful assembly." Alex also reports that police seem to be getting more organized and appear to be planning something on the livestream.

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Police announcements are coming more frequently, Bob says.

Update, 11 pm:

This fence is all shook up:

It appears we have our first use of pepper balls by police tonight—captured by sometimes-Mercury freelancer and ace reporter Sergio Olmos:

And here's what PPB is saying about the evening:

Around 11:30 pm seems to be when things take a turn in terms of police response, so we've got our eyes and ears peeled. We'll see what happens next.

Update, 10:35 pm:

Things are getting tense at the Justice Center fence:

It looks like a big group of police in riot gear behind the fence are preparing to approach the crowd:

We'll keep you posted.

Update, 10:20 pm:

Hypothetical question for you: If a fence exists in an urban setting, but no police in riot gear threaten use of force to protect it, does it ever get tampered with?

In other words, we've got to the part of the evening when people start shaking the fence, and PPB tells people not to shake the fence.

In other news: PPB has started live-streaming the evening from their point of view, in case you've exhausted your Netflix queue while in quarantine.

And finally, let's give it up for gender parity:

Update, 9:50 pm:

As the sun sets, the area behind the fence at the Justice Center is "brilliantly empty," says Suzette. "I see one or two officers moving around back in the overhang, but no clue what they’re doing." People are hanging donuts over the fence (because cops love donuts, get it?)—I really hope they're using stale ones from Fred Meyer and not, like, Blue Star ones.

A dispatch from Bob, also at the Justice Center: "Talking with ACLU observers about last night's insanity. The mixed messages from the police. The egregious use of crowd control munitions. One stayed on the ground until 1:30am keeping an eye on things. Said it was reminiscent of rallies post 2016 election."

Here's an update from PPB about the protests tonight so far—apparently the rally at Irving Park had "several thousand people" in attendance.

Tonight, in "very nice Wiccan" news:

Also: If you want more info on what's going on in Seattle—where a motorist pulled out a pistol at a protest—check out the coverage from our sibling paper (or, um, sibling website?) the Stranger.

Update, 9 pm:

Things are still pretty mellow at the Justice Center fence—the interfaith leaders continue to lead chants and songs. Bob estimates there are between 500 and 700 people there as of now.

There have been a few not-very-successful interactions between PPB liaison officers and members of the crowd:

Here's a dispatch from St. Johns Bridge earlier tonight:

And KOIN news is reporting over 1,000 people at Irving Park now:

Update, 8:30 pm:

The Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance group is now leading songs in front of the fence at the Justice Center:

Per Suzette, a chant of “We won’t throw rocks, we won’t throw stones/ we are the light/ we are the light" is initially somewhat unpopular. But a subsequent chant of "no more tear gas/no more flash bangs" seems to be pretty successful.

Also, it appears there are three different locations for protests this evening:

And here's a scary moment from up in Seattle:


Update, 7:45 pm:

PPB has attributed its use of force from Saturday night to a firework thrown over the fence by a protester. Here's video footage of that firework:

From a Portland Fire & Rescue media release: "Two deputies reported concussion injuries due to the explosion. They were evaluated by embedded RRT (Rapid Response Team) medics. Investigators believe this was an improvised explosive device similar to a M1000 firework. This M1000 type of explosive is extremely dangerous, and is nicknamed a quarter stick, in reference to its similarity to a stick of dynamite. These are often poorly made by non-professionals, and they are very unstable."

Suzette and Bob are now at the Justice Center, but things are typically still pretty mellow up at this time of night. That said, it appears The Fence has presented its demands:

Bob Ham

And there's another huge crowd currently marching on the East side. (An aside: We couldn't be more appreciative of other local media outlets like KGW—the more journalists out there covering this uprising, the better. We're sorry we don't have the staff size to send a reporter over to the East side, but we've decided to focus our limited resources on keeping a police accountability lens on our work. That means being stationed downtown, where the police brutality has been happening.)

Update, 7:25 pm:

Will the use of tear gas be banned in Portland? Looks like it's now officially on the table!

Alrighty, let's check in on the early protest crowd! Folks started at Revolution Hall once again, and are marching to Irving Park in Northeast Portland. A KGW reporter is on the scene:

According to the Oregonian, speakers at Revolution Hall advocated for defunding PPB's Gun Violence Reduction Team and the transit police—two PPB units Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty wants to defund as well. Speakers also want to see police at Portland State University (PSU) disarmed, something that has been a hot topic among PSU students and faculty for years now.

Suzette and Bob will be meeting up with the crowd at the Justice Center soon—stay tuned!

First post, 6:15 pm:
Portlanders are turning out again tonight to protest police brutality—and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others at the hands of police officers. This is the Mercury's tenth straight night of live coverage of these protests, which have been attended by thousands on both sides of the Willamette.

Last night (Saturday, June 6) saw a peaceful rally in East Portland—and another intense police response to protestors in downtown Portland, including pepper balls and some kind of chemical agent used to disperse the crowd that gathered in front of the fence at the Multnomah County Justice Center.

Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers also roughed up at least two journalists, both of whom clearly identified themselves as members of the media.

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly isn't happy about PPB's actions. It's also worth noting that today the Minneapolis City Council made the historic decision to defund their police department and build a new, community-oriented alternative from scratch.

Tonight will bring a new element to the Justice Center: a group of interfaith leaders who plan to show up and show "support for justice, for Black lives, and for the right of the people of Portland to assemble freely without fear of attack by police using war weapons aimed at citizens of our city, our neighbors, and our friends.”

One the ground and tweeting for the Mercury tonight are Bob Ham and Suzette Smith. We'll also be sharing updates on the Mercury Twitter account. Stay tuned—this post will be updated frequently.