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Wednesday, July 29, 2020


by Tricia Knoll

Photos by Morley Knoll

Portland people march. That’s what we do when called from our desks, our beds, classrooms, jobs. We know our history. The KKK. Davenport Flood. Japanese internment. Redlining. Gentrification.

We thread the blocks downtown like needles seeking to bind up frayed fabric. From four directions we come for Pride, Black Lives, climate change, our left-coast city. To the county whose votes determine how the state goes.

We mantra our weirdness, embrace the smallest park in the world and the largest city park. We drink micro-brews and unfiltered water. Bicycle repair shops feature espresso drinks.

We dress for the seasons’ rain, umbrellas good against gas. Leaf-blowers to blowback aerosols sifting down on our masks, homemade or for gas. Hockey and lacrosse sticks to return the cannisters to behind the fence.

Maybe we come naked, exposed, worried and afraid or angry and loud. A city's tradition of riding a bike naked from the top of the hills to the river.

Smell the Riot Ribs in the parks between City Hall, Portlandia, the Fed Building, Courthouses. The hostas were once lush there. A bronze statue of a white pioneer points the way as if native people never lived here in large numbers on the riverbank where salmon spawned upstream and century-old trade routes converged.  

We are moms, the displaced, overlooked, veterans, church-goers, atheists, the beaten on and the upbeat who walk and cry for a better day. For justice.

Board up Tiffany’s. Board up the banks.The Pioneer Place shopping mall. The artists come to paint. Show howbacks are stabbed. They give us the dead and butterflies that hope, list the names so we can say them again and again. We know this history. It was nothing to cheer about.

We also know that the untrained federal storm troopers, the mercenaries paid under contract, must go. Must go. Must go

Tricia Knoll moved recently from Portland, Oregon to Vermont to be near family. She lived in Portland for 45 years, worked in the Portland Building, lunched in all the parks adjacent to the courthouse, City Hall, and the Federal Building. She has marched and marched over many years on Portland's streets.