Brief Bush visit makes for long day
- Don Hamilton
- Portland Tribune - News
Supporters, protesters alike are willing to wait for the president
A visit from a president touches many people, from the police who protect him to the parents and children who see him to protesters who want to agitate him.
Here's a look at the events surrounding President Bush's three-hour visit to Portland on Saturday.
11 a.m. Ð Protesters begin gathering in Irving Park, a few blocks from the Northeast Portland job training center that the president will visit. Marshall Runkel, aide to city Commissioner Erik Sten, brings his dog, a chocolate lab, with a sign for the dog saying, 'I pee on Bush.'
11:15 a.m. Ð An Air Force Reserve Blackhawk helicopter circles over the park, prompting boos from protesters.
12:03 p.m. Ð Two police officers sit in their car on Northeast Sandy Boulevard, watching the bridge over Interstate 205, the route the president will take on his way to speak at Parkrose High School.
12:15 p.m. Ð A line of about 500 people wraps around the entrance to Parkrose High School waiting to get in to see Bush. Parkrose Middle School teachers Molly Davies and Stacey Kottke shiver while waiting in line. They are among 200 school district employees to get tickets.
12:30 p.m. Ð Back near the job training center, police block protesters at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Northeast Cook Street. The protesters stay in the street, occasionally chanting, watched by a dozen police in riot gear.
12:53 p.m. Ð At the Oregon Air National Guard base, security teams finish their searches and allow the media and VIPs onto the tarmac to await the president's arrival.
1 p.m. Ð Miss America, Katie Harman of Gresham, wearing a vibrant suit and red lipstick, breezes into the Parkrose gym lobby with an entourage.
1:01 p.m. Ð Three police snipers gather on a hangar rooftop near the Air Guard headquarters.
1:03 p.m. Ð Rain starts falling at the airport.
1:06 p.m. Ð A military jet circles the area over the airport.
1:10 p.m. Ð Along Northeast MLK Boulevard, the Infernal Noise Brigade Ñ a black-clad anarchist band from Seattle Ñ marches directly to the front of the crowd of protesters beating drums, blaring horns and chanting. Another 15 police officers in riot gear move to the front of the crowd.
1:11 p.m. Ð Air Force One lands at the Oregon Air National Guard Base from Ontario, Calif. Bush is using the backup jet, tail number 29000, the second of two identical Boeing 747s in the presidential fleet.
1:21 p.m. Ð The plane taxis to a stop, and Bush steps out with U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith and U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, both Oregon Republicans. The president waves, shakes hands with supporters and greets 'Oregon heroes,' the firefighters, police officers and Red Cross volunteers who worked in New York City after Sept. 11.
He tells them, 'Thank you very much for what you do and what you did in New York,' reports Carolyn Williams, a Red Cross nurse who was one of 200 Oregon Red Cross volunteers who worked at ground zero.
1:26 p.m. Ð Bush hops in his limo, and the 17-vehicle motorcade starts for Northeast Portland.
1:29 p.m. Ð Protesters awaiting Bush at the job center disperse when Kathleen Juergens of the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition announces that his visit there has been canceled. The report that she had received is wrong.
1:40 p.m. Ð Bush arrives at the center, but the protesters, down to about 30, can manage only dispirited chants.
1:45 p.m. Ð At Parkrose, Principal Peter Nordbye welcomes the crowd.
1:50 p.m. Ð The people in the gym recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
1:55 p.m. Ð The Parkrose School District's superintendent, Michael Taylor, introduces the Parkrose Debonairs, a singing group decked out in green silk evening dresses and tuxedos. They sing 'Sentimental Journey' and a medley of other big-band hits.
2:10 p.m. Ð Bush leaves the job training center and heads for Parkrose.
2:15 p.m. Ð Lisa and Randy Rebagliati of Southeast Portland line up in support of Bush outside Parkrose High, not worried about being outnumbered by protesters.
2:22 p.m. Ð Harman asks the crowd to join her in singing 'God Bless America.' A couple of men stand and the rest of the audience quickly follows.
2:46 p.m. Ð Klarice and David Anderson, part of a group of parents of members of the military, wave American flags outside the school, hoping to catch a glimpse of the president.
'We're here in support of President Bush and his defense program of keeping America safe,' Klarice Anderson says. 'We wanted to come so the president didn't only see protesters.'
3 p.m. Ð About 500 protesters are scattered around Parkrose High School.
3:10 p.m. Ð Gordon Smith strides to the podium, heralding Bush's arrival. 'I simply wanted to say thank you for your leadership and tenacity in pursuing terrorists,' he says.
3:15 p.m. Ð Bush enters the gym through a midnight blue curtain and starts shaking the hands of those on stage. Smith and his wife, Sharon, present Bush with an Oregon Ducks jacket.
3:16 p.m. Ð Bush begins addressing the crowd of 2,300. He says he spoke with Smith and Walden on Air Force One about the worsening economy. 'They're deeply concerned that a lot of people aren't working and parts of the state aren't being treated well,' Bush says. Someone in the stands yells, 'That's right!'
Bush urges bipartisan support for the stimulus package and says, 'Not over my dead body will they raise taxes,' echoing his father's famous 'Read my lips' vow from 1988.
3:30 p.m. Ð Outside, the Infernal Noise Band arrives and emboldened protesters surge across the crosswalk and block Northeast Skidmore Street. The band plays, the crowd chants, but police don't try to move them. Bush, as it turns out, will leave by another exit.
3:44 p.m. Ð His speech ends after 28 minutes. The president turns and kisses Rep. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, on the cheek. He waves to the crowd and leaves.
3:52 p.m. Ð 'It was great to hear Bush speak, and it's great publicity for the school,' says Maxine Thompson, who got her ticket from the Parkrose School District.
'It's just fun to see the president,' adds Larry Volchok, owner of National Associates, a Beaverton company. 'And I was interested in an update on terrorism.'
4:03 p.m. Ð The Bush motorcade arrives at the Oregon Air National Guard Base.
4:04 p.m. Ð The presidential limo pulls up at the base of the stairs, and Bush, alone and carrying a raincoat, climbs the stairs, waves and enters the brightly lighted plane. A harsh, cold and rainy wind blows in from the Columbia River Gorge. It's not quite dark. The Air Force One crew is making lasagna for dinner.
4:11 p.m. Ð The president's plane starts taxiing toward the west end of the PDX runway.
4:14 p.m. Ð A helicopter patrols the east end of the airport.
4:17 p.m. Ð Air Force One takes off for Crawford, Texas.
Compiled by Don Hamilton, Jennifer Anderson, Jim Redden and Kristina Brenneman.