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Why Portland? The City's History of Protest Takes an Exceptional Turn


"Our informal motto is Keep Portland Weird, so we like people who aren't sort of mainstream folks," said Randy Blazak, a former professor at Portland State University. "And that has allowed a lot of room on the margins, including the political margins."

But he says the "Portlandia" image -- of 1990s slackers driven by liberal ingenuity -- isn't entirely true to the city's history.

"We have communists and anarchists and we also have neo-Nazis and fascists," said Blazak, who also chairs the Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crimes. He says the region is also home to several militia and anti-government groups.

That petri dish of extremes has made Portland a hotbed for protest. Its predominantly White population, nearly 80%, also makes it attractive to White supremacists who see the city as fertile ground for an all-White ethnostate.

"It starts with the Oregon trail, when the land that was given was to White settlers only," Blazak said. "It was a state that would remind us of being in the deep South except it was in the Pacific Northwest."


Read entire article at CNN