PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There has been a consistent routine every day for nearly two weeks: protesters begin to fill the sidewalks and lawn outside of Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland starting around 5 p.m. Around 6 p.m. organizers will, in turn, step up to a stage flanked by speakers to share personal testimony and demands for change. At 7 p.m., they march.
In recent days, tables filled with snacks, water, and Gatorade have cropped up on the lawn. Portable bathrooms were brought out. At one point, Portland Fire and Rescue set up a first aid tent for demonstrators.
“I’ve been out here. This is my third night, third consecutive night here,” said one demonstrator in the crowd that typically grows beyond 1,000 by the time protesters reach their march destination.
On Thursday night, roughly 1,500 to 2,000 people walked almost three miles from Revolution Hall to Grant Park.
“I’m here to share my experience, strength, and hope in a way that motivates people to do the right thing for the right reason,” said Jamal Williams. He is a 50-year-old man who has lived in Portland his entire life. “We can’t change what happened in the past.”
Williams believes this group’s peaceful demonstrations have created some change and hopes the movement doesn’t lose momentum. He had this message for police and policy leaders:
“All the grown adults aren’t talking about defunding the police. We need our police, and we have a lot of good officers in our police department, a lot of good leaders who do a lot of good in this community. But we also know they need to develop system for those good officers to hold other officers accountable without the fear of retribution. They need to know that they have their city behind them.”
William’s message represents just one of the thousands of people who have marched from Revolution Hall for the past two weeks.
Thursday night’s march led to Grant Park. Previous marches have ended in downtown, Irving Park, and the Alberta Arts District. Organizers have said it’s important for them to bring the movement to different parts of the city.
Downtown outside the Justice Center, demonstrators began gathering around 9 p.m. For a few hours, police watched as protesters shook the surrounding fence and threw things.
Shortly after 11 p.m., police declared a civil disturbance. By 11:30, officers began dispersing the crowd and made multiple arrests. About an hour later, a smaller group of demonstrated gathered again at Southwest 3rd Avenue and Main Street. Police say they made several more arrests after the group refused to leave.
Police said 19 adults were arrested and one juvenile detained during this disturbance.