Lincoln High School student Ava Stevenson, 16, center, chants with thousands of area youth climate activists and supporters as she takes part in a youth-led climate mobilization demanding city leaders take meaningful action on climate change, May 20, 2022 in Portland.

Lincoln High School student Ava Stevenson, 16, center, chants with thousands of area youth climate activists and supporters as she takes part in a youth-led climate mobilization demanding city leaders take meaningful action on climate change, May 20, 2022 in Portland.

Kristyna Wentz-Graff / OPB

Thousands of area students and supporters marched through the streets of Portland on Friday, taking part in a Youth Climate Strike, and calling on city leaders and businesses to take action on climate change.

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According to organizers, the youth-led event is just the first of what they described as “a spring and summer of bold climate actions.”

Organizers of the event identified four local “climate villains” that they feel contribute to climate change: NW Natural, Oregon Department of Transportation, Zenith, and the Portland Business Alliance.

Surrounded by signs like “our future is burning” and “the planet is hotter than my imaginary girlfriend,” Grant High School student Adah Crandall, 16, took the microphone. Crandall, lead organizer for the strike, demanded accountability from businesses and city leaders. She named each of the local climate villains and the crowd responded with jeers and boos.

“Right now, our leaders have a choice to make. They can either continue to side with the climate villains that are destroying our planet, or they can side with the young people who are gathered here today, fighting for our future,” says Crandall.

Following the gathering at City Hall, the group marched through the streets of Portland, crossing Burnside Bridge, planning to join the climate festival taking place at Revolution Hall.

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