Portland Walking Tours

Portland, Home of the Peaceful Protest

October 18th, 2011

It seems common knowledge around here that a good protest is part of the fabric of Portland. It is a normal sight to see an anti war, anti gun, anti anything protest at Pioneer Courthouse Square. The very roots of Oregon stick to having some of the most inclusive free speech laws in the country. It may have been a surprise to the rest of the country, but no surprise to Portlander’s that the mayor (Sam Adams) would high five and support a local protest, even if it was inconvenient for the city and police.

Usually avoiding political debate and the pointing fingers which normally ensues, for some reason I decided there was at least something intriguing enough to go try to photograph at the Occupy Portland march on Sunday, October 9th. Being from Ohio, this was my first experience up close and personal with any kind of protest. Well…except for that one we held in high school where we boycotted taco day in protest to what the meat contents were. As you can imagine, that did not really lead to any successful mediation, just detentions.  Anyways, I couldn’t help but notice few things as a tour guide here in Portland during a protest.IMG_0251

1. This would be rad to stumble upon as a visitor. I saw this happen many times, and I was glad to see tourists embracing the Portland spirit and at least forcing a smile while being engulfed by shouting/dancing sign spinners.
2. I thought protests were always somber, this was far from that. Hugs, great dancing, music, and smiles were in abundance. This was more similar to a Southern Baptist church service than an angry mob of political warriors. It seemed people had very angry signs and not so angry faces.
3. Families can protest together. I was pleased to see how many parents in Portland were using this as a once in a lifetime educational opportunity.

Regardless of what your opinion is on Occupy Portland or any of the Occupy protests, I think most everyone in downtown Portland Sunday would agree that a spirit of joy filled the city from the cops to the kids. Congrats Portland on another successful demonstration of our Freedom of Speech. If I were a tourist in Portland over the coming weeks, I would find my way to the Occupy Portland camps just to visit and see how Portland Protests. Even better, our Best of Portland tour stops right by.

Get tickets for the Best of Portland here.

If you want to see photos from a tour guide’s adventure into Occupy Portland find them at www.facebook.com/soundskript.

Find out more information about Oregon’s free speech laws here:

New York Times Article – www.nytimes.com/1987/04/15/us/oregon-court-broadens-free-speech-rights.html
American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon – http://aclu-or.org/