Even though the weather was dreary and wet. Winds lashing us with freezing rain there was an enthused turnout at the #F29 meeting prior to the march.
I questioned a DHS agent in an SUV monitoring #f29pdx. He answered my questions w/questions, asked me if I was a terrorist.
The march begins:
JOrygun's assessment from a comment in another post:
So the day started with driving rain, 40 mph winds, and snow flurries. Not a great day to go have a protest. I doubted many would show.
The preparation was fantastic.
• A press alert was sent out a couple of days ago to all the media outlets in Portland, and follow up calls were made to about 40 places, making sure they got it, and had contact information for more background or interviews.
• A 21-page media package was prepared for release the morning of the event.
• Multiple groups were coordinated including Rising Tide, the Animal Defense League, We Are Oregon, Jobs with Justice, the Portland Central American Solidarity Committee, Common Cause, and more.
The morning began with the Bike Swarm hitting the gas stations owned by the big oil companies at 8AM.
Near noon, as people gathered to prepare for marching, there was free coffee from the Occupy Portland Rumorz group, there was fabulous huge signs and banners, there were small signs handed out along with stickers for where-ever you'd want a sticker. There were nearly 200 yellow umbrellas decorated with anti-ALEC art.
The march began from Waterfront park (everything in Portland starts at Waterfront Park). The march was not permitted and the police were out in force. Initially they tried to keep everyone on the sidewalks, but quickly gave up and let us take the streets. The police tried to stay a block ahead of us, and blocked traffic so we could get through.
The march was led by the banner groups, and also had the Occupy PooPoo force (a group of clowns mocking the police and blowing bubbles), a drum circle, march leaders, peace-and-safety representatives, and the usual array of marchers from 2-year olds in wagons to 74-year-old Nan, the protesting grannie, with her walker. The Oreongian estimated the crowd at 1000.
The group marched to a number of business centers in Portland, stopping at each to make sure the message got through: ALEC is not welcome in Oregon. At most locations, a huge bed-sheet poster was unfurled at a parking garage across the street.
The only confrontation took place at Wells Fargo Center. The marchers circled the building and the cops decided to clear the street. A frightening force of jack-booted all-in-black police with shields bore down on the marchers in formation. The next thing I saw, the cops were backing out of the street and the marchers were moving toward them. The storm-troopers left, although I did seem them later riding in pickups a few blocks away.
Apparently 7 were arrested. Two of them occupied a law office in the Wells Fargo center, where one of the partners is ALEC's chief in Oregon. Not sure what the story was on the others.
I'd call the day a rousing success, but I'm glad I'm home and warm now.
Wed Feb 29, 2012 at 11:50 PM PT: From the OPDX Media collective: