Portlanders celebrate Biden victory
Portlanders headed to Pioneer Courthouse Square Saturday, Nov. 7, shortly after the Associated Press called the 2020 presidential election at 8:28 a.m. Pacific Standard Time for Joe Biden over Donald Trump.
A crowd of around 100 people had gathered at Southwest Broadway and Yamhill Street by 11:30 a.m. to clap and cheer a spontaneous drive-by celebration. By 12:30 p.m. the masked crowd of men, women and children had spread to both sides of Broadway and had doubled in size.
Passengers and drivers leaned out of car windows cheering and applauding, waving Biden-Harris signs and U.S. flags as the people on the sidewalk clapped back.
Since Portland has had street protests almost every night for the last five months, the die seemed to have been cast for how to make voices heard. But this small crowd was different from the nighttime crowds. People jingled their keys, banged cowbells, danced and waved flags without any angry shouting or confrontations. One man tried to sing the national anthem and some women sang the Beatles' "Hey Jude," but the general mood was of spontaneous and unorganized joy.
A solitary police cruiser passed through the crowd to no obvious reaction.
Two women who were celebrating said they had walked from their home downtown. Neither would give their last name but Amy shook her keys at every passing car and whooped, while Rachel held up a small letterboard sign.
"We wanted to see where people were celebrating," said Amy, still dancing. "We followed the horns and the cheering."
"I made this sign this morning," said Rachel, after censoring part of her message, which had congratulations for the Democrats but no love lost for the current President.
Asked if they were afraid of the COVID-19 spike (Oregon reported a record 988 new cases and 13 more deaths Saturday, the worst since the pandemic began), Amy said they were. She pointed out that they were both wearing masks and staying several yards away from the main crowd at the corner.
Several cyclists formed a slow roll and took off up Broadway. The turnout was diverse. In addition to the usual Subarus and Chevrolets, several Teslas and Mercedes drove by with cheering passengers. The Unipiper — a Portland character who rides a unicycle in a Darth Vader mask while playing bagpipes that breath fire — showed up briefly. Adding some confusion, there were also many people dressed as Harry Potter characters who were participating in COVID-safe outdoor escape room/scavenger hunt.
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