Feeling the Bern in PDX

March 25, 2016

The people came in waves as the light rail trains and buses emptied. It was a cold spring day spitting rain. Some camped out over night, starting at 2 a.m. Most arrived around 8 a.m. #BirdieSanders wouldn’t arrive until almost 1 p.m. The crowd of more than 19,000 wound all the way around the Rose Quarter convention Center.

I stood in line behind three Japanese students. One of them had her mother with her from Japan. They talked about the bizarre nature of American politics. They talked about the hopeful message of Sanders. They talked about Donald Trump.

“If Trump wins,” one of them said, “I’m going back to Japan. Even natural disasters are better than Trump.”

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I scanned the crowd looking for patterns. But there were none that I could see. It was a very diverse group for Portland — people of all stripes and ages. I loved seeing so many kids participating in a political event.

The now famous bird was flying around inside the stadium for quite awhile before it landed on the stage floor during Sanders’ speech. Then it lifted up and took a place on the podium. The crowd went crazy.

“I think there’s some symbolism here,” Sanders said after the bird took off toward the rafters. “I know it doesn’t look like it, but that little bird is really a dove asking us for world peace. No more wars!”

Portland really does know how to Put a Bird On It.

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