Portland May Day expected to be peaceful following last year's v - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland May Day expected to be peaceful following last year's violence

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2017 May Day riot in downtown Portland. (KPTV image) 2017 May Day riot in downtown Portland. (KPTV image)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

May Day activities slated for Tuesday could be more calm and peaceful than last year’s rioting that resulted in 25 arrests and left windows smashed along downtown Portland. 

The group that organized last year’s march, the Portland May Day Coalition, has settled on a different tactic this time around: a family-friendly festival with music, speakers, food and games.

The celebration will start at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Lents Park. 

Event leaders said they decided to can the march for several reasons, including fear of police brutality, threat of outside groups committing vandalism and violence, and most importantly, to connect with vulnerable populations and keep the focus on the true spirit of May Day.

“We’re having this festival in the park to celebrate worker’s rights and labor activism,” said organizer Lani Felicitas. “Because of the violence that’s happened in the past, we just want to have an accessible event for everyone – especially for youth and families and folks with disabilities.”

She added, “By moving it from downtown (Portland) to Lents Park, where these workers and immigrants live, we can physically meet them where they’re at.” 

The move is a bit of a relief for Maya’s Taqueria manager Karla Maldonado. 

The restaurant is located at SW Morrison Street and 10th Avenue – the area suffered last year after a fringe group of marchers fought with police, smashed windows and lit fires.

Maldonado had a front row seat to the chaos. 

“It was pretty scary. It had us panicking a little bit about what’s going on,” Maldonado said. “And a lot of people ran in here because they were scared.”

Despite indications that Tuesday could be peaceful, Maldonado said she plans to remind her staff about May Day. 

“I’ll let my employees know, so they’re cautious about it, that this is going on,” Maldonado said. 

More than 100 people are expected to turn out to the gathering at Lents Park.

Portland police told FOX 12 they are aware of the event. A bureau spokesman said police are not aware of any May Day events that are expected to impact traffic or businesses. 

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