Hopefully the mystery seeds from China that Oregonians are receiving unsolicited in the mail will be the weirdest thing I hear about today.
Some new polling of Oregonians from DHM Research and the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center includes some fairly interesting results when it comes to various proposed changes to how we structure policing.
As noted by Aaron Michael Brown, whether they understand it in these terms or not, 58% of Oregonians support defunding the police, while 37% support abolishing police departments outright.
On a sitenote: one of my pet peeves is polling a question that demands ungathered context in order to understand the results. In this instance, the matter of approval or disapproval “of the way police have responded to the protests”. People who think police should be more tough and those who think police should be more lenient can state that they disapprove of the police response.
These types of poll questions are effectively useless for public policy discussions, unless you’ve got the per-respondent answers on whether or not they support the protests; even then, it’s not going to precisely correlate and give you a full sense.
I guess my peevish sidenote ended up being longer than my main point of interest.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown says that “[b]eginning Thursday, all Customs and Border Protection and ICE officers will leave downtown Portland”; Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf says they “will continue to maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked”. Question: is Wolf saving face, or did Brown get played?
Where do we even begin with United States Attorney for Oregon, Billy J. Williams? The latest, per Maxine Bernstein of The Oregonian, are his remarks about the nightly protests outside the Federal courthouse.
It is absolutely destroying the soul of our city.
Let’s get some things straight. The map below encompasses almost all of Portland. You can see my the marker the location of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse. (Ignore the blue dot; that’s me.)
This next map shows the four square blocks at the core of the nightly protests in downtown Portland, consisting of the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, the Multnomah County Detention Center and Portland Police Bureau (collectively known as the Justice Center), and Chapman and Lownsdale Squares.
This geography does not represent the soul of Portland, except in a way that Williams never would concede, and perhaps can’t even see: that the people who have been gathering there every night for two months represent the soul of Portland, and that it’s been the alternating and sometimes combined forces of Williams’ government and our own local which have been seeking to destroy it.
That soul is very much on display not just on the frontlines at the federals’ fence, which sits not just on the United States property of the courthouse but on City of Portland property in the street and bike lane, but across the street in Lownsdale park, where everyone from street medics to food tents set up night after night.
Does he see that soul? No. In fact, per Bernstein, he hates what’s become of Lownsdale Square.
It doesn’t help anything.. It’s pretty astounding to see. That is an issue the city of Portland needs to address.
Williams can’t help but see his Federal government as the center of things. “This building is the solution not the problem,” Bernstein quotes him as saying. “It absolutely represents everything essential to our system of justice.”
Setting aside whether that’s ever been the case, it’s certainly not the case right now. His building represents everything that’s wrong with our system of justice, in that it hosts paramilitary forces which came to town to — in Mine Furor’s own words — quell a demonstration for racial justice because our own Portland Police apparently were not being violent enough, were just not quite using enough tear gas on our own citizens.
Williams needs to do some soul searching, for his own as well as for Portland’s, which has been staring him in the face for two months.
Alex Zielinski for Portland Mercury interviews Eddy Binford-Ross, editor-in-chief of Clypian, the student newspaper of South Salem High School, who’s been in Portland covering the nightly protests.
I’m not intentionally copying Jack here but these things really are of a piece. First, Kyle Iboshi of KGW tweeted this incredible video of Billy Williams, the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, flat out denying that federal troops have been “out on the street”, at which point the video cuts to footage of federal troops out on the streets, which of course they have been, night after night, as Jack points out sometimes “as far as the bus mall”.
Williams previously had asked the Inspector General of the Department of Justice to look into the federal presence here in Portland, and that received its due skepticism at the time. Now that Williams is just flat out lying — and for the life of me I can’t believe it’s another other than a brazen lie, because it’s inconceivable to me that the U.S. Attorney for Oregon had seen absolutely none of the footage of federal troops in the streets — that’s pretty much a lock on the idea that there’s no help coming from the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Inextricably linked to all of this is the fact that a federal judge has denied Oregon’s request for a restraining order against these paramilitary shock troops, apparently on the basis that the State of Oregon simply has no standing to represent its citizens in the federal courts. Inexplicably, to my layman’s brain anyway, the judge further deems “an injunction against future conduct” to be “an extraordinary form of relief”, despite the fact that temporary restraining orders are legitimate tool that courts use all the time.
It’s more or less a given that no one expected any part of the federal government to rescue Portland from the jackbooted part of the federal government, and anything that does happen probably will be something of an outlier, but it’s still something of a face-smack to have their lack of concern laid out so plainly.
Bonus read: Christina Cauterucci for Slate explains (via Alex Wittenberg) that Mine Furor chose Portland for his first rollout of federal troops precisely because Portland’s own police already had been savaging protesters.
OPB News has a terrific timeline summary of Mine Furor’s federal encroachment into Portland, up through July 18. Here’s hoping they return to make an updated version as events continue to unfold.
So, the U.S. attorney for Oregon is asking Homeland Security to investigate its own behavior in Portland; I’m sure they’ll get right on that. Meanwhile, Oregon itself is suing the feds for civil rights abuses and potentially pursuing criminal charges against the one officer who shot a protester in the head. And, as expected, Homeland Security has admitted that Portland was a trial run; they’re taking this show national.
Moshu, one of the red panda at Oregon Zoo, modeling for his proposed squinting-eyes, closed-mouth emoji.
Masai giraffe Buttercup poses for today’s Tongue-Out Tuesday photograph last Thursday at Oregon Zoo.
Newly-arrived Masai giraffe Kiden was out and about at Oregon Zoo on Thursday, helping herself to some foliage brought within reach by fellow Masai giraffe Buttercup. Reticulated giraffe Desi checked in briefly.
The kicker for me in this story about a Black family being harassed by nazi Trumpists on the Oregon coast is that seven men with names like these were telling the family to go back where they came from.
The men, many of whom police believe are family, are Gennadiy Kachankov (30), Antoliy Kachankov (28), Andrey Zaytsev (28), Oleg Saranchuk (45), Ruslan Tkachenko (22), and Aleksander Saranchuk, all of Clark County.
My beloved Oregon Zoo reopens tomorrow for three members-only days followed by resuming public access, and I am conflicted. For the past four months, I’ve not left my neighborhood. Even were I to calculate that public transit with its mask requirements, social distancing, and reduced capacity plus the zoo with its mask requirements, social distancing, and reduced capacity were not really a risk, I’d still have to contend with the question of whether or not my autisticness is capable of handling the hour-long commute (or more, given the reduced capacity) to the zoo, the restricted movement of a single-direction route through the zoo, and the hour-long (or more) commute back to home. I’ve reserved a slot for Thursday afternoon, in the event I feel like it’s worth the expense in psychic resources. What I really need is for the zoo to show us what Wednesday looks like, so I have some advance sense of expectations; then maybe I’d have enough data to weigh.