What a great week to live in Portland! Despite the start of the inevitable rainy-season, yesterday the greater downtown area was absolutely teeming with activity. At the same time as hundreds of PSU students showed up in Urban Plaza for the University’s second “Tweetup,” what was estimated as nearly 10,000 Portlanders showed support for the Occupy Wall Street movement and marched with Occupy Portland. We, of course, had photographers at both events.
I was lucky enough to be covering Occupy Portland, along with fellow Vanguard photographer Miles Sanguinetti, and I what I saw made me genuinely proud to call myself a resident of this city, as well as a participant in the event. All in all, Occupy Portland was a very peaceful endeavor, and there was an amazing amount of open, honest discourse from residents of all ages, creeds, and social circles. In the time that I was there I heard (via-megaphone) from a practicing physician, an late-20s construction worker, and a 17 year old Lincoln High student; all of whom showed up because of their personal struggle and belief in themselves and their nation, as well as in support of the movement itself.
Not only was the protest a stunning example of peaceful resistance, but I was also very impressed with the Portland Police force and the Trimet workers. A very polite Trimet employee cleared the max tracks adjacent to Pioneer Square of hundreds of marchers in no more than 5 seconds, without struggle. The Police presence, although heavy, was very non-threatening, and the atmosphere seemed very welcoming. Especially when compared to the more than 700 arrests in the NYC branch of the Occupy protests, this is something to be very proud of.
It was great to be able to not only witness such an historic event, but to participate in the media coverage.
Thanks to everyone who made yesterday such a special occasion, and cheers to those who are still out there.
To see what Miles and myself came up with, check out the photo blog post.