~by Ed Baker
I am a lifelong Oregonian, currently living in Downtown Portland. Over the last few years, I have witnessed my city deteriorate as I could never have imagined. After President Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 Presidential Election chaos ensued.
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Downtown Portland in outrage. Many participating in the “Protests” caused damage to businesses. Similar demonstrations took place over the months and years that followed.
George Floyd died on May 25, 2020, and from then on things have never been the same here. For one hundred consecutive nights people representing Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA gathered in Downtown Portland. Most of these nights were declared “Unlawful Assemblies”. Many businesses had windows smashed out. Fires were set to businesses, dumpsters, and newspaper dispensers. It seems that most of the people who were arrested have had the charges reduced or dropped altogether.
On Saturday, August 29, 2020, about 10,000 people and 3500 vehicles participated in a caravan of people who were showing their support for President Trump as well as the Police. It was an amazing sight to see this many people come out in Portland. It really gave me a lot of hope for the future. Everything I witnessed was positive from those participating. People were in a good mood. They were proudly displaying their President Trump Flags and many were dressed in Red, White, and Blue.
Along the route, many people were flipping off those participating. Some threw eggs, paint, and feces at vehicles as they were slowed down while approaching Downtown. Later that night a member of the Patriot Prayer group, Aaron Danielson, was shot twice in the chest and died. The man who shot him, Michael Reinoehl, was later identified as a member of ANTIFA. Reinoehl died on September 3rd after being shot by U.S. Marshals.
Things only really settled down briefly as a result of Portland having the worst air quality in the Country as a result of fires in September 2020. As I walk around Downtown all I see are boarded-up buildings, graffiti, and murals dedicated to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others who feel were victims of social injustice. I am left to wonder when, and even if ever, Portland will return to the place I remember not too many years ago.
Ed Baker is joining the team of WECU News as our Portland reporter. He has lived in Oregon his entire life and provides a unique understanding of the city and its heritage.
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