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Three days of resistance and a fight for our streets

Posted by on July 20th, 2020 at 4:44 pm

The presence of federal troops in Portland has galvanized Portlanders and there’s been a resurgence of protests at the Justice Center.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We will never have “safe streets” until everyone feels safe using them. That ostensibly obvious and simple concept has become anything but in the past few months since George Floyd was choked to death by a police officer in Minneapolis.

Whether you are Black or brown and/or exercising your First Amendment rights — our streets and public spaces have become nightly battlegrounds in a fight for basic rights. For over 50 days now Portland has responded to the urgent need for reform of racist policies and an unaccountable, over-militarized police bureau by hosting dozens of weekly gatherings, protests, marches, and direct actions. This outpouring of community organizing and resiliency has only gotten stronger as the failings of Mayor Ted Wheeler to control the PPB and protect our city from Trump’s secret police become more apparent with each passing day.

The lack of competent, forceful leadership from city hall and the domestic terrorism by Trump’s troops has led a growing number of Portlanders — from an ever-widening slice of our population — to hit the streets. The ranks of the bicycle brigade that protects protestors from car and truck drivers has swelled, new activist groups have sprung up overnight, veteran protestors have become more organized, mutual aid groups have stepped up in support, and local journalists have kept us informed.

The way I see it, participation in this resistance isn’t optional. We can either sit idly by and let Trump’s fascist dreams become reality or we can stand up and fight back.

For the past three nights I’ve watched and participated in events from right outside my front door in north Portland to the nightly flashpoint at the Justice Center downtown.

Here are some of the scenes I’ve come across…

A “violent anarchist” this is not.


Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, shown here speaking on Friday evening, has been the strongest leader from Portland City Council. She recently told Mayor Ted Wheeler to either get control of the PPB or hand the bureau over to her. He declined.


Portland mayoral hopeful Sarah Iannarone has been a mainstay at the protests. And that’s Milwaukie Mayor and former candidate for U.S. Congress Mark Gamba on the right.

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Group photo of first gathering of the Wall of Moms Saturday night — one women’s random idea that has sparked a global movement.


The omnipresent bike brigade keeps getting bigger and more effective.




Many of the people who come downtown each night arrive by bike.


This guy yelled “Go home!” and was taunting heavily-armed federal troops as they marched through the park.


Bike helmets have (sadly) become de rigueur as concerns of indiscriminate firing of “crowd control munitions” have escalated.


Wall of Moms has changed a lot of hearts and minds about who is protesting and why.


Copious amounts of toxic tear gas clouding our city every night has become a major part of Ted Wheeler’s legacy.

Whose streets? Our streets!

See you out there.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

Just curious, but are the protests entirely downtown and in inner neighborhoods? Or have they spread to East Portland? Has there been anything at say 122nd & Division, the busiest intersection in the city? Or at Gateway?

Bobcycle
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Bobcycle

Thanks Jonathan for the coverage. Great pictures

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

The use of armed federal agents is interesting, if rather ironic. Many of the personnel are ex-soldiers and are far more likely to be Latinx and Black than the population in general (and far more likely than in Portland, of course.) As we discovered while trying to provide sanctuaries for illegal immigrant here in NC, the US border extends 100 miles from every coast as well as from Canada and Mexico, so Florida for example is entirely within the jurisdiction of the US Border Patrol, as is Portland, Seattle, etc. but not for example Denver or Nashville, or even Bend. The US Border Patrol apparently can legally detain anyone they deem suspicious within this 100 mile buffer without needing to deal much with due process and the US constitution, but the likelihood of anyone encountering a Border Patrol agent outside of a border crossing is pretty slim…except apparently now in Portland. I suspect the unmarked officers randomly kidnapping (and releasing) protesters and other civilians are probably either ICE or US Border Patrol agents – they are among the few agencies that can get away with such shenanigans. Over 50% of Border Patrol agents are Latinx.

Granpa
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Granpa

I can’t see how burning dumpsters or breaking glass benefits racial justice or demonstrates a moral high ground. BUt Portland Athena displayed such courage, poise and grace, standing nude before the trigger happy feds that the conviction of the protesters can not be doubted. Knock off the destruction and protest with poise, dignity and grace. Apparently clothing is optional

mark smith
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mark smith

Thank goodness some folks kept going to work….vs mixing it up with the feds..

What’s the mission here? What’s the legal change that needs to happen?

dwk
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dwk

The “protests” are mainly just redundant and killing small business owners in downtown.
At this point no one cares except Trump. They are just helping his failed administration with no
point. BLM is just an afterthought now. The pandemic has a lot of people in real financial trouble. You would think maybe the protests would concern themselves with that.

Brian
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Brian

I read that a Dads group joined the courageous Moms last night. Is there info out there anywhere about a continued Dad effort? Or is it safe to assume it will always be at the same time/place each night?

katew
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katew

Thank you for sharing this side of the story, Jonathan. For health reasons, I’m unable to currently participate in person. I’m glad to see so many people showing up to fight injustice! Stay safe and keep it up!

Bikeninja
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Bikeninja

I am in full agreement with the protests ( except for property destruction and especially the elk statue) but the movement needs to cast a wider net. The federal troops are not just a manifestation of Trump but an inevitable consequence of 20 ( maybe 60 years) of imperial wars and occupation throughout the world. No Empire or large scale military power in history has gotten away with invasions, occupations, renditions and torture outside the country without those same things creeping back inside the home country. It is unrealistic, to hope we can halt fascistic thuggery at home when we still implement it full tilt abroad. This is the thing that MLK realized and verbalized in his Riverside Church speech near the end of his time on earth. Ending our occupations of Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan and shutting down secret prisons and torture sites though out the world must happen if we have any hope of justice at home. It can be summarized by a reversal of the popular chant at many a rally, No Peace No Justice.

Johnny Bye Carter
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Johnny Bye Carter

Can we declare auto traffic an unlawful assembly? They gather in masses, are intent on breaking the law while doing it, and recklessly injure and kill people. Let’s get these terrorists off the streets!

Alan 1.0
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