Man, Saturday was the day to be in downtown Portland. The day kicked off with a noontime protest by Portland Equal Right Coalition, a group I wrote about last week that wants Democrats and big LGBT groups like Basic Rights Oregon to demand marriage equality now rather putting the issue on the ballot in 2012 or later.
The 200 or so allies marched from the North Park Blocks through the Pearl and down Broadway shouting, "Obama! Obama! Let mama marry mama!" A man in a tight black turtleneck and rave pants nearly disrupted the march at one point, running alongside the protest shouting, "Rapists! Sexual perverts!" and other slurs. A burly marcher started shouting back at the lone counter-protester and was restrained by a man in a Utilikilt until police stepped in and not-too-politely told the counter-protester to scram.
As the marriage equality marchers bore down on Pioneer Courthouse Square, their chanting melded with the bongo drums of war reverberating in the plaza: the soundtrack to the Portland version of 350.org's international day of climate action. A fleet of anti-12 lane Columbia River Crossing protesters rolled in on bikes to join the several hundred environmental protesters and school kids laid on the ground, spelling out the number "350" on the brick. I hung out to talk to some representatives of Portland General Electric hyping their company's renewable energy plans but ducked out after someone calling himself "Saturn Man" tried to get the crowd to join in his butt-shaking "shiny hiney" dance.