Protesters heading to the Hawthorne Bridge
Protesters heading to the Hawthorne Bridge Sergio Olmos

UPDATE, 1:20 am

The Portland Police have seemingly accomplished their goal of moving the last band of protesters away from the Justice Center. It was, by all reports, a barrage of tear gas and foam bullets and other munitions. As I type this, police vehicles are sweeping through the streets, making arrests and using force to get stragglers out of downtown. As you'll see below, it's getting a little nasty out there.

As much as I hate to leave it here, my exhaustion is getting the better of me. Our reporter Sergio Olmos is still tracking events through his Twitter account, so if you want further updates tonight, follow him. We'll be back in the AM with more updates. Thanks for reading!

UPDATE, 12:57 am

A group of about 300 people have returned to the Justice Center after regrouping at Pioneer Courthouse Square. The loudspeakers are insisting that the protesters leave the area or they'll be hit with more munitions and/or arrested.

UPDATE, 12:32 am

These tweets from our reporters on the ground in downtown Portland pretty well sum up the mood of the protests and the police response to them at this late hour.

Compare those with what Portland Police Chief Jami Resch and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office have been saying on social media.

UPDATE, 12:18 am

More gas and more flash bang grenades as the police continue to push protesters away from the Justice Center and out of downtown.

UPDATE, 12:04 am

As the tear gas has dissipated, hundreds of people have started to close back in on the Justice Center.

Things could be coming to a head soon, especially after the Portland Police Public Information Office sent this notice out to the media just a little while ago.

To the credit of my colleagues, that email has only strengthened their resolve and fueled their desire to remain downtown to report on this as it happens. Stay safe, Alex & Sergio.

UPDATE, 11:44 pm

The police are continuing to push protesters away from the Justice Center, using smoke and tear gas and lines of officers in riot gear.

UPDATE, 11:29 pm

While Ted Wheeler promised that he'd make an announcement tomorrow for a 30 day ban on the use of tear gas as crowd control, that clearly didn't apply tonight. The Portland Police, responding to a perceived threat from protesters, fired a barrage of tear gas canisters into the assembly of protesters, sending people scattering away from the Justice Center.

A little earlier, Alex Zielinski caught this tense exchange between an officer and some protesters.

Stay tuned...

UPDATE, 10 pm

Things are getting a little more tense around the Justice Center, as the police resume advising the crowd to leave their poor, sweet fence alone. Considering how the cops responded on Tuesday with a barrage of tear gas or last night's LRAD assault, every announcement is only serving to put everyone further on edge.

In better news, Sergio Olmos caught up with Commissioner Hardesty after she addressed the crowd at Waterfront Park, and she seemed appropriately awestruck at what she witnessed tonight.

UPDATE, 9:44 pm:

Time for a quick vibe check from our news editor.

UPDATE, 9:20 pm:

While protesters continue to crowd around the Justice Center, another group has been holding strong at Waterfront Park, listening to speakers like current city commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.

UPDATE, 9 pm:

The demonstration outside the Justice Center continues with birthday tributes to Breonna Taylor, who would have turned 27 today, and a lot more speakers, including Albert Lee, who took on Rep. Earl Blumenauer in the 2020 primary election.

In other news, you may have seen us on Twitter having a chat with Nike about the rather unsavory security guards keeping an eye on their downtown store last night. Life moves pretty fast...

Sergio Olmos

UPDATE, 8:22 pm:

We have to give Ted Wheeler some credit. Even after he said he needed to leave, he's remained at Chapman Square, fielding questions from the many activists on hand and bravely standing there as his constituents make it very clear how much they feel like he's failed them as mayor.

In other news... this looks ominous.

UPDATE, 8:04 pm:

The march has made it downtown.

And Mayor Wheeler says he's gotta split. Coincidence? I think not.

Presented without comment:

UPDATE, 7:43 pm:

About an hour after Mayor Ted Wheeler tweeted out that he was instructing the PPB to stop using the LRAD device, he is now promising the activists at Chapman Square that he wants to ban the use of tear gas for at least 30 days.

"I do not like the tear gas," he said tonight. "It is ugly. It is not focused enough. The city of Seattle... late this afternoon, banned the use of tear gas for 30 days, except limited circumstances. We should do the same. Tomorrow my colleagues and I will be making an announcement."

But... what about tonight?

UPDATE, 7:31 pm:

The throng is getting closer to the Hawthorne Bridge, marching down MLK, chanting, "Whose streets? Our streets."

Meanwhile, Mayor Ted Wheeler (in his cozy casual wear because he's a totally normal guy underneath it all) is meeting with activists in Chapman Square as I type this, listening to their concerns and demands.

UPDATE, 7:06 pm:

A few thousand people—some coming from other smaller rallies around the eastside—are on the move from Revolution Hall, marching toward downtown. The plan tonight, apparently, is to head across the Hawthorne Bridge and reconvene in Waterfront Park.

Our Alex Zielinski is already downtown, ready to report on a smaller rally that is about to kick off in Chapman Square, not far from the Justice Center where the bulk of the confrontations between protesters and police have happened over the past week. And so far... not a lot is happening.

While Portland has been pulling focus of the state's news outlets, there have been a ton of smaller and just as inspiring demonstrations happening throughout Oregon. I'm going to have a story soon about one rally that happened on Wednesday in Happy Valley, but I'm seeing reports of gatherings tonight in Hillsboro, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, and this one in Troutdale.

UPDATE, 6:28 pm:

If you thought the news cycle was moving fast... my friend, you have no idea. Just as I was typing the below update, this tweet went out from our mayor.

Wheeler apparently met with some protesters today who likely demanded the end of this seriously painful crowd control method. For your next trick, can you do something about rubber bullets and flash grenades?

As things are starting to warm up over at Revolution Hall, other protest events have already been underway around the city tonight. In the Woodstock neighborhood, about 1,000 people took to the streets, marching from All Saints Episcopal Church.

Katie Lake

And at Laurelwood Park, a benefit for Don't Shoot PDX kicked off this afternoon with speakers and live performances by some local bands before attendees started marching off to Revolution Hall. Here's a glimpse of one of the band's in action, courtesy of one of the organizers of the event, Trash Hall PDX.

Original post:

Good evening, fellow citizens! It's Friday night in Portland—and for the eighth day in a row, our team here at the Mercury will be on the ground, covering the ongoing rallies and protests that have flared up throughout the city and beyond in response to the killing of George Floyd.

Thursday night's protests started off in much the same way they have since they began last week. The main event was a rally on the grounds of the former Washington High School (now the home of the appropriately named Revolution Hall) that turned into a march over the Morrison Bridge that ended in Waterfront Park. The only big change was the appearance of Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard who, as you'll see from the above photo, was at the head of the march to downtown.

A sizeable chunk of that crowd left for home after listening to speakers in the park with the rest returning to the Justice Center where they faced off, once again, with the Portland Police and a chain link fence. The standoff lingered into the wee hours of the morning, with cops getting occasionally pelted with water bottles and eggs. Things were finally broken up with the first appearance of the much-rumored LRAD, a so-called "sound cannon" that sends out bursts of noise that can go as loud as 140db.

A lot has happened since then. A lot. There have been two lawsuits filed today against the Portland Police Bureau for their handling of the protests. One came from protester Philip Elias who claims that an officer intentionally shot him in the arm and abdomen with projectiles, leaving him with "severe dark bruising." He's seeking $250,000 in damages. The other lawsuit was filed on behalf of the nonprofit organization Don't Shoot Portland looking to stop the police from using tear gas against the protesters.

If that weren't enough, city commissioner Chloe Eudaly sent out a notice to her constituents this evening, looking to, among other things, "ban crowd control strategies... that have unintended harmful effects on large groups during protests, i.e., flash grenades, CS gas, LRAD, rubber bullets, etc." and to "declare racism to be a public health and safety emergency."

With all that swimming in our already exhausted brains, the Mercury is back on the beat tonight with our news editor Alex Zielinski and freelance journalist Sergio Olmos reporting on the ground, and myself, Robert Ham, posting live updates here. Stay with us, Portland.