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Protesters greet Romney at downtown gathering

Groups picket presumptive Republican nominee at fundraiser
by: Christopher Onstott, Protestors lie under a red carpet along Southwest Morrison Street outside the Governor Hotel Monday afternoon during a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney raised more than $500,000 for his campaign.

Protesters turned out Monday morning to greet presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney hours before he arrived at downtown Portland's Governor Hotel for a private fundraising luncheon.

At one point, protesters laid on the street under a red carpet outside the hotel.

Protesters included Democratic elected officials, union members and representatives of the political arm of Planned Parenthood. Among other things, they set up a 'welcome party' across the street from the hotel at 614 S.W. 11th Ave.

Judy Fairdig, owner of the small business College Advisory Service, says she is willing to wait in the rain to make her point to Romney.

'Our democracy should not be able to be bought by corporate interests, because corporations aren't people, people are people,' she says. 'The presidents job is not just to protect the investor class, it's to protect all of us.'

Those attending the fundraiser have paid $2,500 a plate, and can contribute an extra $2,500 to personally meet and take a photo with the candidate. This is the third time in the past year that Romney has come to Portland to raise funds. He did not have any other public appearances during the visit.

Romney has raised $515,000 in Oregon, while President Obama has raised about $1.2 million.

Protesters say they plan to greet the event attendees as they enter the hotel for the 11:30 a.m. luncheon.

Police say the streets and sidewalks around the hotel will be closed during the event. The greatest impacts are expected to occur at Southwest Alder Street, between 10th and 11th avenues. Residents and commuters are encouraged to seek alternate routes.

The street closures will likely last into the afternoon.