At the pro-Trump, alt-right rally June 4, just nine days after the killing of two good Samaritans on the MAX, tensions were high.
Doug Kenck-Crispin did the best thing he knew how to do to help Portland keep its cool: He handed out free weed.
It was the second time Kenck-Crispin, 47, had brought special giveaway packages to local protests, and he offered his free goods regardless of political persuasion.
When he offered free weed to one Trump supporter, Kenck-Crispin recalls the guy was on to him. "'You're just trying to keep us mellow so we won't fight all those hippies," he said.
Kenck-Crispin is a local historian who hosts the Kick-Ass Oregon History podcast, specializing in the parts most inappropriate for schoolchildren. He's no stranger to protests here—including the one that helped earn our city's reputation as Little Beirut, when Reed students ate mashed potatoes dyed red, white and blue and then vomited them up to welcome Dan Quayle to the city. (The blue turned green in stomach acid.)
"I am not going to vomit at anyone," he says, "but I'd love to see more of that protest art."
Kenck-Crispin carries his pot in a tin decorated with images of so-called "Jail Blazers," Trail Blazer players—including Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, Qyntel Woods and Zach Randolph—who were arrested on weed-related offenses.
He gave out some tins as well as marijuana.
It was the Trump supporters who provided the most gratification—and the highest risk. "I love to give weed to Trump supporters," says Kenck-Crispin. "I found this unknown joy in it."
He discovered that the solitary Trump supporters were eager to take a spliff, but in groups they could get confrontational. Some yelled in his face, but he wasn't overly frightened, he says.
"I'm a pretty big white dude," he says. "My concern only goes so far."
He also handed out samples to two former mayoral candidates among the counter-demonstrators. "They may not wish to be named," he says. "I wanted to give weed to Ted Wheeler, but where was he?"
There's one faction Kenck-Crispin hasn't delivered his wares to, despite the fact many think they need to be considerably more chill—the federal law enforcement agents on hand for the protests.
"I just didn't know," he says. "Is it really legal? I'm not sure."