Your Wednesday Portland Riot-Palooza Roundup: Kate scoops Ted again

It's hard to believe it was more than five years ago that John Kitzhaber resigned as governor of Oregon over an influence-peddling scandal involving his concubine. That was a rough day for F. Ted Wheeler, who's now the mayor of Portland. Wheeler, who was state treasurer at the time, was surely thinking he had a crack at the governorship in the next election less than four years later. But when Kitz rode off into his libido-infused sunset, under Oregon law, Kate Brown, the secretary of state, became governor. They're all Democrats, and inertia is a big thing in politics around here, and so that meant that Kate was going to be governor – not Ted – for a long time.

Fast forward to now. The feds are occupying Portland. Demonstrators are being shot in the face and gassed with God-knows-what for the crime of standing near the precious federal courthouse while the anarchists throw flaming garbage over the temporary security fence. Just about everybody in Portland (except the U.S. attorney, who lives an hour away in Hood River) wants the federal shock troops out of their city. And so now the musical chairs are on to see who will emerge as the local hero who gets credit for their leaving.

The other day, Wheeler and his nemesis on the City Council, Jo Ann Hardesty, teamed up to demand a meeting with the feds to negotiate a "ceasefire." Ah, but lo and behold, Brown got first dibs on that action. Reportedly she and some suits from Chad Wolf's neo-SS operation are talking about a deal under which the federal mercenaries would leave if the state promises to police vandalism at the federal courthouse to the satisfaction of Orange Caligula in the White House.

So far, it's just talk, but it would be quite another coup for Brown if she could be the deal maker with the feds. And another bust for Ted.

On the other hand, it could backfire. The crazies in front of the courthouse are not all going home if the federal stormtroopers pull out. Who is going to whack the anarchists on Kate's behalf? The state police? The National Guard? Whoever inflicts it, the whacking will not play well on the millions of screens that count so much these days.

Anyway, Mayor Ted's cruel summer continues. 

UPDATE, later that morning: Kate says she has made a deal with Pence(!) that the border patrol thugs are leaving. The Marshals Service and Protective Service surely aren’t, however. Oh, and she says the state police are stepping in.

Tuesday night at the courthouse

You call that a riot? Tuesday night's skirmish at the courthouse was a smaller, warmed-over replay of the five preceding nights. There were many fewer demonstrators – estimates in the hundreds now, not the thousands – and there seemed to be a lot of in-fighting within their ranks. Riot Ribs, after a most hostile takeover, is under new management. The folks in front of the Justice Center are lecturing the folks in front of the courthouse about what the right way to protest is. The various movements seem to be tiring a bit. (Although the trumpet guy is still getting it done.)

The federal stormtroopers aren't tired. There seemed to be quite a few more of them last night than ever before. As the main force stormed out of the courthouse for the nightly clear-out, reinforcements came running up the streets from the south (by Wells Fargo) and east (from down by the river).

The feds did all of their usual, atrocious stuff. And now there's a black smoke or gas of some kind being thrown in with the mystery yellow stuff and the just-plain tear gas. 

I hope the protesters have good medical insurance for the rest of their lives, because 20 years from now, that stuff could surface. Remember "He gassed his own people"? Yeah, like that.

There was also a helicopter that made a hell of racket all night long. By the time it went over our place on the way back to the airport, it was 3:30 in the morning.

"If you protest again, you're going back to jail"

A couple of friends have pointed me to this story, which is making the rounds. When people get arrested at the protests, they are being released only on the condition that they don't attend any more protests anywhere in Oregon until their case is resolved. These orders, which one observer called "hilariously unconstitutional," are apparently being issued by the federal magistrate judges whose courthouse is being occupied. 

I was hoping that the federal judges would speak up, but not like that.

Portlandia was a documentary

Another colorful City Council member, Chloe Eudaly, is in charge of "transportation" under the city's goofball, antiquated "city commission" form of government. In Portland, the sole mission of the 'transportation" bureaucrats is to make it miserable for you to drive a car or own a home.

Anyway, as of yesterday, Eudaly and her minions had fined the federal government $192,000, and counting, because Fencie the Federal Fence, which temporarily guards the courthouse, is blocking a bike lane. The fine is computed at $500 for every 15 minutes the bike lane is obstructed. Eudaly is maxing out the fine because she's one tough cookie, you see.

And now, for some warm milk

I honestly don't know what to make of this, which showed up yesterday. It's an agenda for government in these parts to respond to the cry of Black lives mattering. I would take it more seriously except for the fact that the first page is a wall of politicians' names. These people have been in power for many, many years, and yet now is the first time they have thought to get together and address these issues in a concrete way.

It almost sounds like they're saying "Please don't vote me out of office over this." But hey, I guess it would be wonderful if all of the promising ideas were implemented. So it's worth a skim, at least.


  1. Two groups typically show up when there's a genuine public outcry. These are the politicians and the anarchists. Both groups try and usurp what can be a genuine movement for their own ends. In other words, this is not really about ending police brutality for them. If the politicians cared they would have addressed that problem years ago. Many of these same people sat idly by after Kendra James was killed and didn't even flinch. Instead, for them, this is about defeating you-know-who in November. The strategy is that chaos in the streets will cost Trump even though that same chaos could get him re-elected. It's quite a gamble considering the level of talent involved. I mean Jerry Nadler looks like the first politician who could be bribed with a bag of potato chips.
    The second group are the anarchists - the ones who want to tear down the system and start again. They consider the United States experiment to have failed. They usurp the cause to try and escalate the conflict. They don't want the feds to leave so that peace will reign upon the land. They would rather this thing got really serious so that after a complete breakdown we can rebuild a new system where everything is great. And you know what? I see their point - I really do - but they would be wise to study the French Revolution. It had similar goals and ended as a military dictatorship.
    In the middle are thousands of normal citizens who were genuinely outraged at the killing of George Floyd - one of the ugliest videos in history. Unfortunately, their movement has been hijacked. It's one thing to get shot in the face for a good cause, but it's another to get wounded to advance the politicians and anarchists.
    Now forgive me but I'm at the point where everything reminds of something else. This reminds me of the old men back in the 60's hurling insults and talking trash about Vietnam. Of course, they weren't going to actually show up there and take the bullets to the face. That was for others to do. The Old Guard just urges them on. Then years later everyone admits that the whole thing had been a giant mistake. It's happened before.
    I'm afraid the people getting wounded downtown are being played. I wish they would stop and reassess. Their good intentions are being twisted. We've got to get passed this thing before the sectarian violence really starts. And don't say it can't happen here.


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.