6 People Arrested During J20 Protests In Downtown Portland

By Laurie Isola (OPB), Amelia Templeton (OPB), Kristian Foden-Vencil (OPB) and Rob Manning (OPB)
Portland, Oregon Jan. 20, 2017 10:15 p.m.

After an evening of protests Friday, Portland police used crowd-control devices to disperse lingering demonstrators near Pioneer Courthouse Square and six people were arrested.


The use of flash-bangs and tear gas came after police told protesters that the march, which began at 5 p.m., was unlawful. Police also warned the group that those who did not leave the area would be arrested.

By the end of the night, five people were charged with second-degree disorderly conduct:

  • 21-year-old Nicholas Martin Johnson
  • 30-year-old Rosemary Vera Tustin
  • 45-year-old Craig Allen Hasty
  • 18-year-old Travis Allen Martin
  • 41-year-old Matthew Ray McGaugh

Before the march began, police also arrested Billy Ellison, 18, who was wanted in connection with violent activity at a November protest of Donald Trump. He was carrying a knife, a blowtorch and a gas mask at the time of his arrest Friday, according to police.

Police deployed pepper spray during the night against some demonstrators who attempted to move across police lines and cross the Burnside Bridge. The pepper spray broke up the crowd, but some protesters continued on to Waterfront Park before police began directing the group back to where the march started, the square.

The protest disrupted MAX train traffic in downtown for a good portion of the evening, though service had resumed, with some delays, by 7:30 p.m. TriMet had said it would only alter its service if the area became "unsafe." [video: confrontation-during-protest,left,58830408b5c0a501c6b06e94]

Several demonstrations coalesced Friday night in downtown and resulted in thousands of people on the street. Many of the demonstrators focused on opposing the policies of President Donald Trump, who took the oath of office earlier in the day.

In the late afternoon, before the march started, a crowd began to gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Demonstrators from both political aisles peacefully protest inside Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Demonstrators from both political aisles peacefully protest inside Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Kristian Foden-Vencil / OPB

Some protesters waved signs that said “Dump Trump” and “Healthcare Is A Human Right.” A small group of counterprotesters carried signs with religious messages.

Steven Dickensheets, a Trump supporter, stood by quietly with a cross. He said he believed the protests caused division.


“If they are trying to change something,” Dickensheets said of the protesters, “change comes with gathering of all people and trying to unite people, not trying to divide people and make protest over something that I think is moot at this point."

Portland demonstrator Karen Cole said protesting is her constitutional right.

“I’m probably actually going to be one of the few people here who will say, ‘Yes, this is our president,” Cole said. “This is what our system has given us. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. And it doesn’t mean I have to sit down and be quiet.”

The protest began with a group of demonstrators setting fire to American flags. Although a scuffle broke out as some protesters tried to stop the burning, the gathering in the square remained peaceful, with police maintaining a fairly low profile.

Downtown Portland businesses ready their storefronts for the expected large-scale protests, Jan. 20, 2017.

Downtown Portland businesses ready their storefronts for the expected large-scale protests, Jan. 20, 2017.

Rob Manning / OPB

Several businesses downtown, including Nike, Banana Republic and Nordstrom, had boarded up windows in anticipation of the protest.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced earlier in the week that police would intervene in demonstrations if necessary.

“We have an opportunity this week to show the rest of the nation that we are a community that is very active and very engaged but we’re also peaceful,” Wheeler said at a press conference Wednesday.

Other Northwest cities, including Seattle and Olympia, protested Trump's inauguration Friday as well, according to the Associated Press.

During the protest in Seattle, one person was shot near the University of Washington campus.

This article will be updated as new information becomes available.


This article was first published at 2:30 p.m. PST.
Updated at 3:05 p.m. PST with information about flag burning.
Updated at 3:42 p.m. PST with information from city agencies and officials.
Updated at 4:19 p.m. PST with information about the size of the crowd and MAX trains.
Updated at 4:55 p.m. PST with protester quotes.
Updated at 5:10 p.m. PST to note the march's start.
Updated at 6:15 p.m. PST with information regarding the police use of pepper spray.
Updated at 6:40 p.m. PST with information about Waterfront Park.
Updated at 7:18 p.m. PST with arrest and crowd control information.
Updated at 7:35 p.m. PST with TriMet service update.
Updated at 8:13 p.m. PST with the police use of crowd control devices.