Portlandia 2020

Photo by drburtoni

I live in Portland and I am getting notes from friends and family.

The nature of the questions varies but they fall along the spectrum from “What the hell is going on?!” to “Are you ok?”

Most of the time downtown Portland looks like the photo above. This is outside the Apple Store.

The nightly protests are taking place just south of there, in a 12 block area surrounding the federal courthouse. The lower floors of courthouse were damaged in the first weeks of the George Floyd protests and has been boarded up ever since.

Each night for almost two months, protestors have shown up to make their voices heard. There is a point each night when one side starts to throw fireworks and the other throws tear gas.

My conversations fall in a similar duality with demands for real change and expectations of a return to law and order. Ask about thoughts on the presence of federal law enforcement and those lines start to blur. The energy downtown has been refueled by people all over the city who believe in the protests and don’t believe federal forces should be here.

This is day 56 and it is not ending any time soon.

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