Protesters block traffic; disrupt senator’s ‘Town Hall’

Find out what this ad-hoc group was protesting, and whose function they disrupted …

Officials say the drivers of two vehicles helped protesters block SE 82nd Avenue of Roses, in front of Eastport Plaza, and police officers ticket the drivers.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Typically busy holiday weekend, Saturday traffic along SE 82nd Avenue of Roses slowed to a standstill, starting about 1:00 p.m. on January 3, when a group calling itself “Hands Up Portland” set off on a march.

Gathering near the McDonald’s Restaurant just south of SE Foster Road, many of the protesters made it clear they had no regard for traffic laws as they walked north, crossing through intersections against the traffic signals.

Some emboldened demonstrators showed little regard for their own safety, either, when they marched into the traffic lanes of SE 82nd Avenue, challenging drivers to stop or run them down.

Demonstrators head toward Tabor Hall, on the campus of Portland Community College Southeast Campus.

“Officers contacted the group and instructed protesters to use the sidewalk and clear the roadway for vehicular traffic,” said Portland Police Bureau Public Information Officer Sgt. Pete Simpson. “Two protesters refused to go to the sidewalk and were arrested by police.”

Whenever police cleared an area, protesters taunted drivers by dashing back into the street, and slowly walking through major intersections.

In front of Eastport Plaza, traffic again came to a standstill when marchers stopped traffic in the street, some with the aid of vehicles, carrying placards.

“Two drivers of vehicles associated with the protesters were given citations for failing to yield to emergency vehicles and other violations,” Simpson said.

Police officers stand by, as protesters storm Tabor Hall.

Eventually, police herded the unruly group to their stated destination, a “Multnomah County Town Hall” held by Senator Ron Wyden (D) at the Portland Community College Southeast Campus.

As many as 120 protesters rushed the door at Tabor Hall, some pushing aside other participants who came hear Wyden give an award to a World War II veteran, and to speak at his 2:30 p.m. meeting.

Because most media, including this reporter, were prevented from entering Tabor Hall due to what staff called “overcrowded conditions”, reports were that the protesters took over the meeting, showing no respect of the other participants.

Protesters locked out of Wyden’s Town Hall ring the room, pressing their signs up to the windows.

After about a half hour, Wyden gave up, and reportedly met with a few attendees in a side room, away from the still-chanting crowd.

Returning to the parking lot, officers asked us if we had learned why demonstrators were protesting. “Police brutality”, demands for $15/hour minimum wages, union rights, ecology issues, and that Oregon could be “sued by China under the Trans-Pacific Partnership”, were some of the diverse issues represented.

36-year-old Katharine M. Moore and 51-year-old Malcolm J. Chaddock are arrested for Disorderly Conduct.

“Arrested for Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree were 36-year-old Katharine M. Moore and 51-year-old Malcolm J. Chaddock,” Simpson later said.

Both Moore and Chaddock were booked into the Multnomah County Dentition Center (MCDC), but were released later that day on their “Own Recognizance”.

“There were no further arrests after protesters left the campus at approximately 4:00 p.m.,” Simpson concluded.

Wyden’s staff said his Town Hall meeting would be rescheduled, but despite the rowdy protesters, the scheduled honors presentation to a World War II veteran was completed before the meeting began.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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