I've meant to write something about Portland and the protests as I've written several items about life in Portland and Covid-19, but in reality, the expression of Portland is best summed up by two conversations I had in my home town on the southern coast. A cashier noticing my Portland address asked how nuts Portland was. I think she expected harrowing tales of fearing for my personal property and safety as crazed Antifa bands roved the streets in masks and body bags lined the street with deceased COVID-19 patients. My reply was a massive letdown. I mentioned lockdown was boring, people took it seriously, and I saw protesters marching past my apartment routinely as I live in southeast Portland. The most egregious behavior I saw was protestors j-walking across Powell Blvd at roughly 21st street.
Then another person who knew my family, older than me, mentioned they understood why I wanted to split time between my hometown and Portland with its problems. Again, the perception of Portland was vastly different than the reality. When I'm in Portland, life is as normalized as it can be with the pandemic. Today, I'll be picking up Black is Beautiful from Cascade Brewing after lunch, and checking out Beer Mongers for any other beer releases, stopping at Stumptown to pickup some coldbrew concentrate, going to the Hawthorne Fred Meyer, and going out to dinner with my girlfriend. Under no point will I feel threatened or unsafe as the protests are limited to a 12 block zone in downtown Portland, where few people live and I'd hazard few Portlanders go when not at work or shopping.
Like every major city, it's vibrant, but the lights are flickering under the stresses of Covid-19 but also being made brighter as they try to find the path forward for racial justice.
The support for the fascist motions by Donald J Trump seems to be negative partisanship, as opposers care less about winning rather than making the other side lose regardless if it hurts them in the process. It's unnerving as somehow people like me, a guy who grew up in a town of 2500 people and three traffic lights, can drive a tractor, whose parents are 3rd generation farmers, is the enemy. The cities are filled with people who have rural bonafides like myself. I don't have any answers. Best I can do is help change perceptions of Portland.
Portland is not a warzone.