Statement on Portland protests

Posted Nov. 14, 2016

Protests in Portland, Oregon

As has happened in a number of cities across the country, Portland has experienced several consecutive nights of protest demonstrations and marches. The vast majority of protesters in Portland have conducted themselves in a very peaceful manner. Unfortunately, during some protests, a number of individuals unrelated to the protest organizers have turned to acts of violence and vandalism.  This has resulted in multiple news stories and references both domestically and internationally, including the Washington Post, BBC, CNN and Saturday Night Live’s opening monologue.

Civic engagement and related protests or marches are not new to our city, which has a long history of engagement across a broad spectrum of issues. As Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in a statement, “Oregon has a proud and strong history of civic participation, protest, and advocacy. It’s part of the Oregon way to make our voices heard, but the right to peacefully assemble should not be clouded by attempts to instigate lawlessness.” Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler also condemned the violence and said in an email, “There will never be room in our city for sexism, racism, religious intolerance or xenophobia. Portland welcomes everyone. Portland is safe for everyone.”

Travel Portland joins our elected officials in condemning the violence, vandalism and hate speech that have occurred since the presidential election. We want visitors to know that while they may encounter protests in Portland, the city is still safe and welcoming to all. The most likely impact on visitors, if they encounter any at all, is traffic or transit delays.

Protest organizers have stated publicly that they do not promote or condone this behavior and have met with city leaders to confirm their intentions as being peaceful. Organizers are fully cooperating with police and say they will continue to do so. Protest organizers are volunteering to clean up damage done by the individuals who were not connected to their group, and have set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for repairs. Organizers state that their message is not anti-Trump, but is rather about being united as we come to understand how positive relations, cultural inclusion and other issues may look in the nation’s future.

Portland continues to be a safe and extraordinarily welcoming place for visitors. There is plenty to see and do in areas that are completely unaffected by the recent demonstrations. With the exception of some traffic disruptions, most Portlanders are not experiencing the demonstrations firsthand, but are learning of them through media accounts. If you are visiting Portland in the upcoming week, we recommend that you sign up for the PublicAlerts system in order to receive important and timely updates. You can also check @trimet and @PortlandPolice for information. We thank the City of Portland and Portland Police Bureau for their ongoing work in keeping our city peaceful and safe.

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