The Portland Protests from a Student’s Perspective


On August 9-10, Ashland High student Peregrine Streeper witnessed firsthand some of the protests that Portland has seen in response to George Floyd’s murder. Floyd was a 46-year-old African American Hip-Hop artist who was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, on May 25, 2020, during an arrest where he allegedly passed a counterfeit $20.00 bill in Minneapolis Minnesota. PortlandOregon has been a hot spot of many protests since Floyd’smurder.

Streeper, a senior at Ashland High School, was in Portland from August 9-10. From his Aunt and Uncle’s house, he witnessed first-hand the protestors marching. Right outside his relatives’ house, he saw about 600 hundred protestors marching and chanting. Streeper recalls seeing about 30 police officers who were heavily armed as well. The protests were intense-Streeper talks of hearing chants of “black lives matter!” and “I can’t breathe!”, both specific to the violence used against black people by police. Additionally, protesters were screaming at the police fitted with riot gear to get out of their neighborhood. Fires were started amidst the intensity, one in a nearby park and one in a dumpster. While some of the citizens were able to put out the fires, others were being pursued by the police force. At one point, officers started chasing the protestors through a park. Streeper recalled that it looked like the police force looked like hunters pursuing prey. Streeper had later found a package of 40mm rubber pellets that the police had been using on the protestors.

Similar to Portland, many other cities have protested police violence, including some local protests in the Rogue Valley. Police violence against minorities has always been an apparent problem in the United States, and the protests in recent months goto show the frustration among the people that it affects, as well as their allies. Whatever form of reform an individual may advocate for, it is apparent that the status quo is not meeting the needs of minorities in this country. The issue of racially charged police violence will continue until met with a substantial change.