Protesters at Justice Center raise their hands while getting shot at with various munitions by officers, Juneteenth, 2020.
Protesters at Justice Center raise their hands while getting shot at with various munitions by officers, Juneteenth, 2020. Tuck Woodstock

UPDATE SUNDAY MORNING: Early this morning, after we had turned in for the night, officers stormed the protesters again after reportedly getting "hit with projectiles."

According to the video submitted on Twitter by independent videographer @hungrybowtie, the officers were especially physical, brusquely shoving protesters down the street, hitting them with batons, and firing foam bullets and flashbangs randomly into the crowd. This certainly seems like an escalation from recent nights, and we've already sent in for records request from the departments and will be submitting questions about their behavior to city leaders. (Support your local journalists like @hungrybowtie here.)

UPDATE 1:45 PM: Since we are at a standoff with no end in sight, we're calling it a night, but will monitor the situation and update you tomorrow. TO RECAP: It was a mostly peaceful day with a speaker-led concert at the Vera Katz Esplanade this afternoon, followed by a long evening at the fence punctuated by Justice Center regulars taking verbal jabs at protesters who prefer the Revolution Hall rallies, occasional fireworks, a sad Multnomah County Deputies' bullhorn, a fence that was taken down and then quickly put back up again (prompting a lot of ill will from the direct action protesters), and various warnings throughout the evening from various officers.

We'll be updating you again soon, so until then, thanks to our Alex Zielinski and Suzette Smith who have been journalistic champions this weekend! And as always, if you'd like to show your appreciation for their continued efforts to bring you information while keeping a wary eye on the cops, you can make a donation here. Thanks, and good night!

UPDATE 1:30 AM: Apparently the cops have a new copywriter.

And yet? The "individual hostile" offenders are never singled out. Instead the officers end up firing munitions at the entire group.

UPDATE 1 AM: In a probable attempt to justify future actions from the cops and their deputy pals....


UPDATE 12:45 AM: More warnings from the PPB:

But so far the standoff at the (recently torn down by protesters, and then quickly rebuilt by other protesters) SACRED FENCE™ is holding. However, the deputies attempts at befriending the crowd could be going better.

And so, since their bullhorn isn't working so great....

UPDATE 12:30 AM: Okay, this is a switch:

Posted without comment (other than to say, see our 9 pm entry):

For reasons unknown, the officers (PPB? Multnomah County Sheriff? Who knows?) are really struggling with their bullhorn tonight.

But at least someone still knows how to use Twitter.

UPDATE 12:15 AM: And perhaps to celebrate the midnight hour, some impressive fireworks are being launched.

And then, almost right on cue....

And after a night-long absence, officers have made their appearance.

UPDATE MIDNIGHT: For the past 45 minutes there has been little to no movement at the Justice Center, other than the occasional fireworks, a lot of chanting, and a guest appearance by a blast from the unwelcome past.

UPDATE 11:15 PM: Protests, like nature, abhors a vacuum, and so right at the peak of the 11 pm doldrums, someone sets off fireworks on the side of the Justice Center building.

The crowd tightens up a bit, but still no cops to be seen. But who cares about fireworks when there are free snacks!

Meanwhile, the calls for tents and sleeping bags continue, as plans to stay the night in the park solidify.

UPDATE 11 PM: And now here's Suzette with the 10:45 pm "vibe check":

According to many on the scene, there's mostly chanting and very little shaking of the SACRED FENCE™. As one tweeter aptly put it: "No cops visible. The lights are off, like a house on Halloween that ran out of candy." That's a good line.

In short, we're in the 11 pm doldrums. (Or if you prefer, the calm before the storm.)

UPDATE 10:30 PM: The projection game at JC tonight is strong.

Here's the high rez version:

However movie night is over, and the chanting continues. So far no cops are showing their faces (but that was also the case last night before they came bursting out the front doors of the Justice Center blasting various munitions at the crowd... see our 9 pm entry for more on that).

So earlier we talked about the leaderless crowd making plans for possibly staying the entire night... and it looks like those plans may be coming to fruition.

UPDATE 10 PM: Because you're going to need it later...

Meanwhile, the JC gang are ramping up the shame tactics against those who dare organize and attend protest parties at Rev Hall.

And on the bullhorn:

Apparently the messaging is working, because there is a very hearty crowd tonight.

UPDATE 9:45 PM: I love Portland protests in all their many forms—but you have to admit we could use a little more of this San Diego style.

That said, our protesters have the better tables.

And here's another thing we have that the others don't.

Also our projections bring the spice. (Remind me not to ever piss these guys off!)

UPDATE 9:30 PM: As you may have noticed, the Justice Center protest group is without a leader—and they want to keep it that way as it prevents the authorities from singling out and breaking up any perceived power structure within the group. MAKES SENSE! The downside is that controlling large groups on the fly is nearly impossible and inevitably there's confusion about what to do next when the cops are trying to shove everybody out of downtown (as was the case last night). Tonight it seems plans are being made in advance....


And now a moment of silence for the nightly ritual of worshippers as they approach the SACRED FENCE™!

"You cannot touch the fence!" "BUT WE MUST TOUCH THE FENCE!"

UPDATE 9 PM: Before we get ass-deep in this protest tonight, we'd like to clarify some information that the Mercury reported last night, in reference to the officers who came barreling out of the front doors of Justice Center, and without warning began firing munitions indiscriminately into the crowd.

FOR THE RECORD: We regret that we were unable to immediately identify whether it was the Portland Police or Multnomah County Deputies firing munitions at our heads. In our defense, we were confused by the nearly identical riot gear, the covering of name tags that prevents them from being identified, and ducking so we didn't get shot in the head. In the future, if we aren't hospitalized, we will certainly try to do better.

OKAY, so let's jump into what's happening at the Justice Center tonight with Suzette Smith who is on the scene:

(Psst. This is some not-so-subtle shade directed at the 100-200 people who chose to join the Revolution Hall dance party last night instead of staying at the Justice Center. There is very distinct tension between the two groups, who both think their methodology will best move the needle on police brutality and systemic racism. I actually think both groups' ideas have merit... but that's a blog for another day!)

Oh and for you Alex Zee fans... check out this pic from 2011 which features then Mercury intern Alex covering Occupy Portland! WE WERE ALL SO YOUNG!!

ORIGINAL POST 8:25 PM: Hello and here we go again! We're now well into the third week of nightly protests against police brutality in Portland—and this weekend has so far been extra memorable. Yesterday was Juneteenth, and our city marked it with an inspiring "Celebration of Black Lives" march and rally (which was covered and beautifully written about by Suzette Smith... READ IT HERE!), a raging, celebratory dance party at Revolution Hall (which was bonkers), and an extra, weirdly violent response from officers at the Justice Center. (And just when you thought they were learning that shooting munitions at protesters' heads were a bad idea!) You can see all this and more in our live blog from last night. CHECK IT OUT HERE!

Okay! So that was yesterday, and TODAY IS TODAY. So far the Snack Bloc has been having a lot of inspirational fun including fiery speakers and some great music over at the Vera Katz Esplanade, and speeches are already being made over at the SACRED FENCE™ at the Justice Center where it will probably be another wild night. But don't fret, because the Mercury Protest Strike Force and Knitting Circle will be there watching and reporting back on all the action. So tonight follow the whip-smart Alex Zielinski and the cunning and hilarious Suzette Smith on Twitter for minute-to-minute updates and this rolling live blog for the overview on everything that's happening across the city. So stay tuned... and LET'S DO THIS. AGAIN!