PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — May Day, also known as International Workers Day, is a celebration of laborers and the working class where people around the world protest for better pay and working conditions.
In Portland — a city known for protesting — you can expect to see a lot of people exercising their First Amendment rights.
May Day demonstrations are expected throughout Oregon on Saturday, including a number of them in the Portland area that have attracted the attention of law enforcement.
These events are expected to begin around noon and continue into the evening, Portland police said. None of the events — in Holladay Park, downtown, Peninsula Park, Salmon Springs Fountain and Shemanski Park at various times Saturday afternoon and night — have permits.
Just as the police prepare, so do the downtown businesses.
Windows boarded again, some businesses roll dice
Some businesses are boarding up their windows again, while others are just leaving their boards up on the windows. Others, though, are rolling the dice and hoping for the best.
Workers began boarding up the windows on the Wells Fargo near Pioneer Courthouse Square Friday afternoon. They also boarded up the windows of a bank in the Pearl District. Other crews were sent to different spots in the metro area.
At the Columbia store, workers said the boards that were put up before the George Floyd verdict will stay there at least through the weekend.
A few blocks away at Kassab Jewelers, the boards have been up since the riot of May 30, 2020, when the store was looted. Noah Kassab said plans are on hold right now for reopening, with potential plans to eventually reopen in phases.
At the Oregon Historical Society, where windows were damaged a few weeks ago, the plywood will remain in place. Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk said they’ve also had discussions with the city.
“After the last incident the front windows are boarded up because they were cracked and those will remain boarded,” he told KOIN 6 News. “We have been in talks with the mayor’s office about security around the perimeter on May Day.”
The Oregon Historical Society was also targeted in October when someone threw a flare into the building.
“We are trusting that people understand that we are, have helped lead the way in Oregon in telling the truth about Oregon history. In fact, so honored that Willamette Week mentioned that we are perhaps the most anti-racist museum in the country,” Tymchuk said. “So we are very proud of that and just hopeful that perhaps that history won’t repeat itself this weekend.”
Taking the longer view, Tymchuk has a wish for how this period in Portland is seen.
“I hope when history looks back on this time, it will reflect that Portland survived and that civility and decency returned and the city was — the community was — able to continue.”
Police aware of events
Portland police said they’re aware of a “march/car caravan that may impact traffic downtown” on Saturday afternoon.
There are also two “autonomous demonstrations” promoted on social media that are expected to begin Saturday night at Shemanski Park and the ICE facility in South Portland. These events are planned and organized by the same groups that have vandalized businesses and set fires in various locations.
“We are also concerned that some of the language that is being used in some of the flyers that people are spreading around online does suggest there may be some kind of criminal activity,” PPB Sgt. Kevin Allen said.
Allen said PPB will bring in extra resources, including more officers if there is large-scale civil unrest.
Earlier this week, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese amended booking criteria for the Multnomah County Jail. Now, people charged with reckless burning and 2nd-degree criminal mischief “are eligible for booking” into the jail.
“While we hope those engaged in these events are peaceful and lawful, PPB is prepared in the event they are not,” officials said in a Friday afternoon statement.
PPB Chief Chuck Lovell noted Portland has a long history of peaceful gatherings and marches. While he hopes the Saturday events remain peaceful, he said PPB is “prepared to respond as appropriate and arrest those engaged in criminal activity that undermines public safety for all.”
Liaison officers want event organizers to communicate with the bureau to share their “needs and intentions” of the groups involved.
Salem events planned
What is billed as a “Mayday 2A Rally” in support of the 2nd Amendment and gun rights is expected to begin around noon Saturday at Riverfront Park in Salem. Speakers are expected to include State Rep. Mike Nearman, who is now facing charges for allegedly letting people into the Oregon State Capitol in late 2020, and QAnon supporter Jo Rae Perkins, who lost a bid for the US Senate against Jeff Merkley last November.
KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the night and throughout the weekend.