Politics

Portland’s pulse remains vibrant despite Trump’s depictions of the city

President Trump has become fixated on the civil unrest in American cities. From Chicago to Minneapolis to New York, he has portrayed “Democrat-run cities” as dystopian pits of violence and mayhem. Among his favorite targets is Portland, which he said is “out of control” and “a mess.”

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

But the reality on the ground in the City of Roses is a far cry from the “death and destruction” in Trump’s tweets.

A man rides a scooter past boarded-up shops. The coronavirus pandemic has caused many downtown businesses to shutter.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Graffiti is seen on a boarded-up Apple store in the city.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

The disruptive events of 2020 have, in many ways, transformed downtown Portland. The pandemic has caused many downtown businesses to shutter. Storefronts remain boarded up due to ongoing demonstrations against police brutality. More tents have appeared on sidewalks, as city officials have limited sweeps of homeless camps during the coronavirus crisis.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Josephine Baker, who is homeless, dances along the sidewalk in downtown Portland.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Thomas Muller, a homeless man, eats his dinner at Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Joseph Kosuda, a homeless man, plays his guitar in Chapman Square park.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

A homeless man known as “Old Man Jazz” stands on the street outside a Safeway supermarket.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Still, the vibrant dining and shopping scene in Portland has evolved to welcome back customers. Restaurants have built wide patios with outdoor seating. Cafes and diners have opened their windows and spaced apart their tables, and many were booked up with brunch-goers over Labor Day weekend.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Isa works the counter of Ruby Jewel ice cream sandwich shop.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Mia Krys and Vanessa Nemec enjoy dinner at the St. Jack French restaurant.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

People enjoy drinks on the rooftop of the Nines, a luxury hotel.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Patrons sit outside Sisters Coffee Company.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Despite images of desolation, this city of bridges, breweries and bike lanes continues to pulse with activity. A chaotic night of tear gas from police and molotov cocktails from protesters last weekend capped 100 days of consecutive demonstrations in Portland. But the riots have mostly been contained to certain areas, and bursts of violence have only happened at night.

Paula Bronstein/for The Washington Post

Protesters gather outside a Portland police precinct.

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Portland police take control of the streets on Sept. 5, as hundreds of people gathered to protest police violence and racial injustice.

Paula Bronstein/AP

Paula Bronstein/AP

Protesters confront police on Sept. 4. Demonstrations in Portland now have lasted for more than 100 consecutive days since the police killing of George Floyd in May.

Paula Bronstein/AP

Paula Bronstein/AP

A protester plays the banjo during a nighttime protest on Aug. 30.

Paula Bronstein/AP

Paula Bronstein/AP

Protests have long been a part of life in Portland. And in the daytime, the rallies and marches are a peaceful family affair. Even as nearby wildfires blanketed the city in a smoky haze on Labor Day, scores of protesters gathered in a waterfront park for speeches, music, painting and an Indigenous drum circle. Pushing baby strollers and waving Black Lives Matter flags, hundreds of Portlanders marched through their city yet again, their signs and voices raised in solidarity.

Paula Bronstein/AP