Chants urging the U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland to tell the truth at his upcoming hearing in front of House investigators rang out over a two block stretch of downtown Portland Tuesday evening.
The area is home to three hotels owned by Sondland's company, Provenance Hotels. For half an hour, protesters held up signs outside the entrance of The Sentinel, bringing supportive honks from drivers making their way down SW 11th Avenue. After reciting the oath Sondland took when he became an ambassador, the crowd of about 80 made their way two blocks over to his Woodlark and Dossier properties.
Kate Sharaf, who organized the protest with a local pro-impeachment group Stand On Every Corner PDX, said the group wanted to leverage Portland’s local connection with Sondland to encourage him to be truthful in his testimony.
“We really want to use that connection to send a message to him that we’re paying attention and we expect him to do the right thing and put his country first,” she said.
Like many of the protesters at Tuesday’s event, Sharaf said she was upset that Sondland had withheld information from investigators in the impeachment inquiry during a closed-door session, only to revise the testimony after having his memory “refreshed.”
Investigators will get a chance to question Sondland about this revised testimony Wednesday morning. And Sharaf said, this time, she wants the full truth out the first time.
“He needs to realize the gig is up,” she said.
With Sondland scheduled to appear before the House Wednesday morning, Sharaf said she didn’t suspect Sondland was still in Portland, much less within earshot of the chanting protesters.
“But I think he’ll still get the message,” she said.
As did most people walking by. At least a few passersby briefly joined in the chants of “Gordon Sondland tell the truth” as they walked through the crowd.
Portland native Scott Reeves said he’d attended the protest to encourage Sondland to stick to one story.
“Gordon Sondland has told different versions of his story. He has one last chance when he testifies at the impeachment hearing to finally tell the truth,” he said. “We want to know what he knows.”
Though Sharaf said the event organizers weren’t calling for a boycott of any of Sondland’s hotels as Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., did last month, other protesters felt more strongly.
“They sleep at these hotels, they’re sleeping with Gordon Sondland, they’re sleeping with Donald Trump,” said Lori Sumako, who stood across from Dossier, yelling as much to those walking in and out of the hotel’s entrance. “Wake up. Take a stand. You’re supporting it. Your money supports it.”
Sondland’s testimony is began shortly after 6 a.m. PT Wednesday, Nov. 20.