Welcome to the City Council

They were marching in the streets in several locations around Portland last night, and it wasn't because the Dodgers won. With new police killings of Black men in the news elsewhere in the country, particularly Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia, angry protesters' attention was refocused on the core source of their unrest.

There were more than 100 at the Justice Center downtown, and a smaller group in North Portland (it might have been at the North Precinct). An especially noteworthy development was when a group splintered off and marched to the home of newly elected City Council member Dan Ryan. What looked in the dark like a few dozen protesters stood outside his house and chanted that they wanted him to vote to defund further the Portland police bureau. Apparently, there's a vote on the budget coming up today.

It was 11:30 at night, in a quiet residential neighborhood. Ryan and his partner came out and spent some time talking with the protesters about their demands. The dissidents pressed him for a commitment on how he will vote, and he wouldn't give it. After 20 minutes, he asked if he could go inside and go to bed, because both he and his elderly neighbors needed some sleep. No, the protesters said. So he stayed out there for what seemed like another 40 minutes or so. Eventually the parties agreed to continue the conversation later, and the protesters left.

According to Ryan, at one point the cops texted him and offered to bust up the party, but he told them that that wasn't necessary. In fact, as far as could see, the police didn't get involved anywhere in town last night.

It was a different story in other cities, Philly of course but also L.A. It looks like there is trouble in D.C. as well, over the death of Karon Hylton at the hands of police. 

Some nights, it appears this country is coming apart at the seams. Let's hope it gets a little better next week. Meanwhile, let's none of us make it worse.


  1. Next week will most likely be historically bad. Here's my advice for Portland: Let's try and do something - anything - to lessen the pain and suffering. This Friday around 3 p.m. each individual should do what you do spiritually. If you don't believe in anything like that or worship anything just approach it as wishful thinking. It doesn't have to be religious. Maybe you worship consumerism, maybe you worship sex or alcohol or any of the drugs out there. I say set them aside for 5 minutes and focus. The rest of us should pray or meditate or just stand in awe at the wonder of it all. Look, there are forces in the universe we don't know about. Quantum physics has particles affecting each other across vast amounts of space at exactly the same time. Particles that appear to act differently depending on who's observing them. Particles that are in two places at once. You can't tell me there isn't some heavy shit going on that we don't know about. And somehow these atoms and molecules have formed humans with consciousness but our brains aren't just computers - they're receivers. We're tapped in to forces we can't fully comprehend. You might believe in God or many Gods or no Gods or Allah or any of the other words for it. It doesn't matter. Focus your mind for 5 minutes and ask whatever is out there for help getting through this next week and beyond without all the violence. If these years really are the beginning of a great global revolution, they'll be no stopping it anyway. But if it's just going to be 100 more days of riots, broken bones and skulls and burn victims, and gunshot wounds, let's fight it with our minds. Let's throw everything we have in our brains and souls at it. 5 minutes, Friday at 3. It's worth a shot.


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