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Alex Zielinski

Update, 1:40 am:

Actions taken by the Portland Police Bureau have made downtown Portland too unsafe for our reporters to remain on the ground. They've both safely returned home.

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After firing an initial spray of munitions and tear gas into the crowd of remaining demonstrators, police declared Downtown Portland "closed." Armed with batons and "less lethal" weapons, a mob of officers formed a line and forcibly pushed protesters north from downtown. At one point, the armed mob charged at a group of demonstrators—who apparently weren't leaving downtown fast enough—creating this nightmarish scene:

On another street, officers marched behind Steve and Suzette, making sure they left downtown and stopped filming them.

According to a video released by PPB at 1 pm, this is how police respond when people cut holes in a fence, throw marbles and bottles in their direction, and toss fireworks at cops who are firing munitions at them.

It's a lot to wrap our heads around at this early morning hour. We're going to bed now, but be assured we'll be back on the streets tomorrow night doing the same work. See you then, Portland.

Update, 12:45 am:

It's been a rollercoaster end to the night. At midnight (Steve's birthday!) the 200-person crowd was in dance party mode. It was dang jubilant.

Not long after, however, a few protesters began chucking things over the fence, dismantling the fence, and then chucking THE FENCE over the fence. Like clockwork, police indiscriminately fired flash bangs and tear gas back into the crowd, creating a chaotic, scary scene:



Update, 11:50 pm:

It feels like we've hit the doldrums period of the night. Nothing more from the police after the fence-hole incident. Time for a VIBE CHECK:

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Update, 11:30 pm:

A couple other folks have hopped over the fence to twerk and moon the police—then climbed back over. AND THEN: A guy hopped through a significant hole that had been cut into The Fence. After flipping off the police for a short minute, he's mobbed by at least five riot police—but somehow escapes? Police still shoot pepper balls into the crowd.

Here's what it looked like from the other side, thanks to tenacious reporter Sergio Olmos:


Update, 11:00 pm:

Hold onto your butts, folks: Three people hopped over The Fence and the police did absolutely nothing. That's a different response than we've seen from these cops in in the past two weeks, who seemed eager to tear gas crowds of people for throwing a water bottle over The Fence. The three people have safely hopped back over The Fence to the demonstrators' side (can we call this the People's Side?).


KATU is embedded with PPB tonight, and their livestream from the other side of The Fence is worth tuning into. Recently overhead: A cop warning the camera guy that he may have to relocate if protesters start using their slingshots.


Update, 10:30 pm:

Show's over and fence-climbing has begun. (And with it, we're hearing the first police announcement of the night.)



Update, 10:05 pm:

The show's still going strong. It *almost* feels like a normal summertime outdoor concert, aside from the fact that it's taking place in front of Portland police HQ and during a global pandemic.



Update, 9:40 pm:

The perviously mentioned hip hop show has begun in front of the Justice Center (thanks for the delay, fraternizing cops)! There's about 400 folks now gathered for the show.



Update, 9:15 pm:

Now that the officers have completely vacated Chapman Square, all tense vibes has disappeared. Weird, it's almost as if the cops were the ones escalating tensions and creating a fearful environment? Steve is now listening to Black Portlanders speak in the lawn outside of Grant High School. Here's what he's hearing:




Update, 8:50 pm:

Okay, the cops seem to have retreated to behind The Fence, around the same time that the Justice Center flood lights flip on. Looks like everything's back to the status quo in front of the Justice Center.

There are a few uniformed stranglers, but it seems like protesters are making sure they know they're not welcome.


Update, 8:20 pm:

Suzette arrived at Chapman Square to an unusual sight: Officers on the park's perimeter, standing around their patrol cars and, I quote, "straight up chilling." None of them were wearing masks when Suzette approached them to ask what was going on.

Seems like the anti-police protesters will have something to say about these languishing cops? YUP.

Meanwhile, Steve is still hoofing it through Northeast Portland as the Rev Hall crowd creeps closer to Grant High School.


Update, 7:50 pm:

A moment to share the protest/COVID-19 crossover news we all knew was coming:

From the Oregonian's reporting: "He believes the positive result that came Tuesday stems from the many hours he spent marching, chanting and avoiding tear gas, often among throngs of tightly packed strangers."


Update, 7:40 pm:

Marchers still marching. Rumor has it they aren't taking a I-84 detour tonight, but the pack of thousands is just as invigorated as ever. Here's an action shot:


And another from the front:


Nothing popping yet downtown, but Suzette is on her way to scope out the scene. More soon!


Update, 7:10 pm:

The nightly march from Revolution Hall has begun! Tonight's destination is Grant High School, located in Northeast Portland. This means they'll have to cross I-84. If you recall, last time a march headed that direction, demonstrators took I-84 as a shortcut. There's no evidence that we'll see the same highway takeover tonight, but keep an eye on those on-ramps, folks.

Here's Steve's dispatch:



Original post, 6:30 pm: Tonight marks the two-week anniversary of the first massive protest in downtown Portland following the death of George Floyd.

And Portland, we're still going.

The last few nights of Portland protests have remained relatively low-key, save for a few flashpoints (and flashbangs) between riot police and members of the public. Today's demonstrations began early: This morning, hundreds gathered at Portland State University (PSU) to memorialize Jason Washington, the Black man killed by PSU officers nearly two years ago, and demand PSU disarm its police force. Students, faculty, and community members have pushed PSU to make this change for years, while PSU leadership have continued to dodge the request.

There are a number of different demonstrations planned for this evening, ranging from a Black Lives Matter march in Hillsboro to a hip hop show in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center. Our esteemed Mercury correspondents will be on the ground at at least two of these events: Steve Humphrey is starting his night at what's become a regularly rally at Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland, while Suzette Smith will be checking out the Hip Hop for Justice show outside the Justice Center (and yes, in front of The Sacred Fence) downtown. We'll be updating this blog with their observations throughout the night, starting around 7 pm. Stay tuned!