Portland's propensity for the cute and strange and clever is usually cloyingly annoying. But then, sometimes, it's absolute pure genius.
Take Saturday night, when a couple hundred people showed up outside the Moda Center to shame the antigay trolls from the Westboro Baptist Church—who'd decided to try picketing the Portland Trail Blazers for their first-in-major-sports declaration in favor of marriage equality.
Portlanders glammed up for the occasion and printed mocking signs. Greg Raisman, a city transportation employee, started a website, Protestathon.com, in which people could pledge money for Basic Rights Oregon. Black bloc adherents came armed with giant black banners meant to cover Westboro's words. And DJs were waiting with a sound system and stage lights for a promised dance party.
Westboro's crew showed up later than expected, closer to 5 instead of 4:45, and stood on a feeder road several hundred feet from the arena. And then they left far sooner than expected. About 15 minutes in, after protesters swarmed them with signs and derision (and after one Westboro type had her hat snatched from her head and thrown into the road by a counter-protester), Westboro booked it for their cars (three in all) and drove off in defeat. (One source told me, afterward, that some topless women made sure to make out in front of the departing cars, accompanied by a "God loves butt plugs" chant.)
Naturally, the Portland Mercury was out there taking pictures. Enjoy!
- Keith hearts Lance.
- Greg Raisman
- "Na-na-na-na, hey hey hey, good-bye." Etc.