Editorial/Opinion

In remembrance of George Floyd

These are collections from the Double Sided Media photographers. Over the course of the past year, their imagery has painted our stories and we wanted to give them a chance to showcase, in editorial form, their favorite photographs over the past year.

Some photos have been altered to shield the identities of the individuals embodied in these collections.

John S. Adair

Death of a breath, a silent flame. Eyes of fury, thunderous streets.


Chance Raffield

Death as the catalyst for change: Protests addressing racism in our society.


James Croxton, managing editor; cory elia, managing editor of village Portland

A year of #BlackLivesMatter protests in Eugene, Springfield, and the Anarchist Jurisdiction of Portland

This is an overview of the Black Lives Matter movement throughout Eugene, Springfield, and some of Portland during the George Floyd protests in 2020 and 2021. Not every event could be mentioned. The majority, if not all, of Eugene and Springfield events of the past year have been detailed in James Croxton and MG Belka’s Eugene Rising, Part VI and Eugene Rising, Part VII

Events from Portland will be in a separate font.

Introduction

On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, killing him. The next day, the explicit video that showed his death circulated on social media sparking protests in the city. 

Just over a hundred miles apart, both Portland and Eugene experienced, and continue to experience, two mostly different—but in some ways similar—series of protests, actions, and reactions. 

When Portland became the center of the national spotlight, both Eugene and Springfield saw the ramping-up of protests to a climax. What happened in the smaller two cities often shadowed what was happening in “the Anarchist Jurisdiction of Portland.” Sometimes it was the other way around

May 2020

Both began explosively.

In Portland, a few hundred people gathered in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center on May 28.

The next day, a reported thousand, or more, people gathered at Peninsula Park. Later, a group marched downtown where windows were smashed, graffiti was spray painted, stores were looted, and many fires were set — including inside the Justice Center. 

As a result, the city’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, declared a state of emergency.

On May 30, a similar sized group marched, set fires downtown, and unsuccessfully tried to gain access into the Lloyd Center.

In Eugene, a few hundred people gathered downtown for a peaceful demonstration at the intersection of Washington St. and 7th Ave on the night of May 29. There was a large dumpster fire in the middle of the intersection that was constantly added-to, including empty oil drums from the nearby Jiffy Lube. 

People began smashing windows of local businesses, the Eugene Police Department declared an unlawful assembly, then riot, and deployed CS/tear gas from a distance.

The crowd of people then marched towards Kesey Square and were confronted by EPD again. This time, as businesses such as Spectrum, the city’s—only—Queer bar, and the Black-owned Jazz Station had their windows broken, EPD deployed more CS gas and used pepper-balls.

The City Manager then declared a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for Saturday into Sunday morning that only applied to a limited area until it was extended to city-wide at midnight. 

On Sunday, approximately 10,000 people converged on the steps of The Wayne Lyman Morse United States Courthouse and marched to Alton Baker Park for speeches and music. 

June 2020

Cory Elia, the managing editor for Village Portland, was on the ground covering the events in Portland nearly every-single-day. 

Prior to the “federal occupation,” Elia will tell you that the overall mood of the protests was that of “a giant block party.” Thousands of people spilled into the streets each day and night, smoking cannabis, listening to music, and standing in solidarity with their BIPOC brothers and sisters. 

Much of this happened in Lownsdale Square—a grassy, green park in front of the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse—and Chapman Square, which is right next door and across from the Multnomah County Justice Center. 

Days after the fires, a fence was erected around the Justice Center on June 1 only to be mostly removed two weeks later because of public backlash. 

Down south, Black Unity—by far the city’s most prominent and active group of BIPOC activists at the time—led near-daily marches throughout Eugene and Springfield. 

In early June, Travis Waleri drove his car into a children’s march. He struck then-Black Unity co-leader Isiah Wagoner.

On June 13, following a protest at the soon-to-be-renamed Deady Hall on the University of Oregon campus, a group of people in black bloc fastened rope to both “The Pioneer” and “Pioneer Mother” statues and took them down. The first was dragged up the steps to the doors of Johnson Hall while the second statue was simply left on its side. Both are currently in storage. 

Later that month, BIPOC Liberation Collective went to Mayor Lucy Vinis’ home and BU went to Springfield and had their first major interaction with it’s—often overzealous—police department.   

July 2020

In response to the ongoing protests, federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshal Service,  U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Protective Service arrived in Portland.

On July 11, federal agents shot protester, Donavan La Bella, in the head with a less-than-lethal projectile while he held up a boombox. In the months since, La Bella has been recovering slowly despite setbacks due to the traumatic head injury at the hands of the federal agents. 

The following week, on July 22, Portland mayor, Ted Wheeler, went to the protest, got up to the fence, and saw, first hand, the excessive force used by the federal agents when he was tear gassed. Notably, the mayor said that “I can tell you with 100 percent honesty, I saw nothing which provoked this response.” 

By mid-July, the climate of the protests in Eugene-Springfield was getting increasingly hotter until it would climax between July 26 and July 29. 

Later that month, on July 26, several hundred people gathered at the federal courthouse for a march where, at the time, “Black Lives Matter” was painted in yellow across the length of the street. A few dozen counter-protesters showed up armed with their own weapons and makeshift barricades and shields. Not only did a counter-protester discharge their gun into the air, but a vehiclist in his truck pulled-up and aimed his gun at protesters only to leave after being confronted with an antifascist’s own gun.

As the night went on, tensions escalated between the protest and EPD — who, in the middle of a residential neighborhood, used two canisters of CS gas and PepperBall munitions to disperse the protest. 

Three days later, on July 29, a day that will no-doubt live on in infamy here in Eugene and Springfield, BU leaders and protesters, and members of the press were violently assaulted by both counter-protesters and Springfield police officers. 

August 2020

On Aug. 5, a protest at the federal courthouse saw the introduction of the United Communists and Anarchists of Eugene, Oregon. While waiting for the now-disgraced Jeva and their Portland “Snack Van,” several dozen mostly-armed counter-protesters gathered down the street at Elk Horn Brewery. 

Three days later, on Aug. 8, several hundred people arrived at the federal courthouse and marched for Black Trans Lives. A truck tried to drive through the crowd, but clipped another vehicle, and ended up on it’s side. Three days later, on Aug. 11, Wagoner, who had since departed BU, announced his candidacy for mayor. 

Later in the month, on Aug. 22, supporters of then-President Donald Trump rallied in front of the Justice Center. There were not only major clashes between the group and the anti-fascist counter-protesters that had arrived but also significant threats of gun violence. Alan Swinney, a self-proclaimed but, apparently not “official” Proud Boy, aimed his pistol at the opposing group while others. 

Two days later, on Aug. 24, an autonomous march in solidarity with Kenosha, Wisconsin began at the federal courthouse. Both Cory Eugene Wyatt and Geena Hagar, two of the Eugene-Springfield areas most well-known agitators, followed the crowd and were eventually confronted in front of Jameson’s Bar — and ended in a fight between Hagar and a protester on the ground.

A few days later, on Aug. 28, several hundred people marched through Eugene—including Portland’s Caesar The No Drama Llama—in solidarity with Washington D.C.’s Commitment Rally. What began as a positive, uplifting rally turned solemn with the news of Chadwick Boseman’s passing.  

Ending the month, on Aug. 29 in Portland, a large “Trump Flag Wave” caravan drove through the streets of Downtown Portland. While driving through, some of the right-wing vehiclists indiscriminately maced anti-fascist counter-protesters left and right. Later that night, anti-racist protester, Michael Reinoehl, shot and killed Aaron Danielson, who was known to be associated with Patriot Prayer

September 2020

A few days after the deadly shooting, Reinoehl was shot and killed during his attempted arrest by the FBI and the Federal Marshals Service on Sept. 3. The killing of Reinoehl grew more suspicious following a New York Times article which included witness statements that conflicted with federal reports about what had happened.

September started off unexpectedly in Eugene with a group of right-wing agitators, including the now-jailed self-proclaimed Proud Boy, Alan Swinney, appearing at Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza on the evening of Sept. 4. 

On Sept. 20, then-President Donald Trump declared Portland—along with Seattle and New York City—as ”anarchist jurisdictions” in an effort to slash funding for cities that “permit violence.”   

Then, on Sept. 28, BU went back to Springfield for a march in remembrance of The Elaine Massacre. There, counter-protesters, once again, were confrontational with the march and Rob Davis, who is romantically linked to Geena Hager, bear-maced several people including then-BU leader, Jazmine Delilah in the face. 

October 2020

The beginning of October saw direct action on the UO campus in the form of a sleep-in in front of the doors to Johnson Hall on Oct. 4. The next day, they removed themselves after President Schill showed up, spoke to the occupiers, and agreed to a later in-person meeting. The meeting didn’t lead to anything substantial, though

On Oct. 6, BU held a march starting at University Park. Before setting off, the group’s then-head of safety and police liaison said that they had requested an escort from EPD. With school back in session, the march added another 40-or-so college students as they stopped in front of UO’s Global Scholars Hall — where the freshmen were being housed due to the pandemic. 

Three days later, BU marched in solidarity with Texas where Jonathan Price, an unarmed Black man, was killed by officer Shaun Lucas. Currently, Lucas is behind bars awaiting arraignment

Ending the month’s worth of protests, on Oct. 29, BU took to the streets again. This time in solidarity with Illinois after the killing of Marcellis Stinnette by a police officer during a traffic stop for which his girlfriend was driving.

November 2020

On Nov. 3, BU-Eugene led a march in Portland. The “All Power to the People – West Coast Solidarity” march began at Revolution Hall and went through the local neighborhoods. It ended with a separate group going to the Justice Center for a flag burning.  

The next day, several hundred people came together in front of the Federal Courthouse in Eugene for the “Rally for Democracy.” The rally’s guests included Mayor Vinis, Councilors Emily Semple and Greg Evans, and EPD Chief Chris Skinner.

Then silence. 

December 2020

There wouldn’t be any more protests or marches until the shooting of Muhsin Sharif by EPD officers on Nov. 30 — a candlelight vigil the same night and then a BU-led march on Dec. 4. At some point, seemingly out of nowhere, Geena Hagar and her antagonistic cohorts began to closely follow the crowd. 

And then the silence from before grew even louder as protests became considerably less frequent. 

In Portland, the eviction defense for “The Red House on Mississippi,” owned by The Kinney’s, a prominent Black and Indigenous family, began on Dec. 8. There, community members defended those living at the house from being evicted as PPB cruisers saw their windows smashed and tires punctured with caltrops

Their efforts prevailed and, in the following months, a deal was supposedly made for them to retain the house that the family has owned for over 60 years. 

January 2021

On the day of the Presidential Inauguration, Jan. 20, a protest began in the early evening at Irving Park. Before it began, a car accidentally struck another and ended up on it’s side with a mother and child inside — and the antifascists helped them out

That day, there was a protest that began at Revolution Hall. There, bike cops with PPB showed up in force before anything was to begin and cited people for various minor infractions. At one point, there was a confrontation and munitions were deployed. The crowd of a hundred, or so, people marched to the Democratic Party of Oregon headquarters.

On Jan. 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a group of over 200 marched through Portland to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Sculpture outside of the Oregon Convention Center. 

February 2021

In early February, a Black family living near River Road in the Santa Clara neighborhood was targeted in a spree of hate crimes — a noose placed on their garbage can had the “n-word” on their classic Volkswagen. 

Over 100 community members showed up in support on Feb. 19. Holding signs and drinking SolidariTEA, the crowd stretched along both sides of River Road, seemingly, as far as the eye could see.

On Feb. 28, approximately 40-60 people gathered at the federal courthouse for a BU-led “We Keep Us Safe” sit-in beginning at 2 p.m. 

March 2021

On March 6, during a press conference in front of the George Floyd and Breonna Taylor mural, BU and the Civil Liberties Defense Center announced a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Springfield, their police department, and specified individuals in relation to the events of the July 29 protest. 

Later the same day, approximately 50 people gathered at the federal courthouse for a BU-led march to the jail and back. 

Two days later, Derek Chauvin’s murder trial began. 

April 2021

On April 17, after several leaders had resigned, those who remained with BU led a solidarity march for both George Floyd and Daunte White. Approximately 50 people marched and, despite being confronted with a long-gun-holding man, ended up back where they started within 90 minutes

Three days later, the murder trial ended and Chauvin was convicted for all three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. 

Chauvin—currently in solitary confinement at Oak Park Heights maximum-security prison—will be sentenced on June 25. As of writing, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill—the judge during the trial—has said the court will allow for a higher sentence.   

May 2021

A few weeks later, on May 2, a march from Alton Baker Park went to EPD’s headquarters. While in the parking lot, a man became disgruntled when he and his wife, in a separate car, couldn’t get out of the blocked driveway. Growing more irate, he called over a group of riot-gear clad officers for help. This backfired and he—while screaming at an officer mere inches from their face shield—was asked to leave.   

Before leaving, many people pointed out a well-known rune used by the National Socialist Movement on a car in the parking lot. 

On May 23, two days before the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, a dozen people took to the streets in a march of solidarity with Floyd’s family and others who were also leading marches across the country. The crowd began at the federal courthouse, marched to the Lane County Jail, drew outlines of their bodies in the street, and marched back. 

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