A coalition of anti-Nike protesters who rallied last night in downtown Portland are in Salem today—pledging to delay and disrupt a vote on Gov. John Kitzhaber's deal with with the sneaker giant to keep its tax status.
"I suppose it's possible that we could extend this [session] into the weekend," rally organizer Nicholas Ivan Caleb declared outside the Portland Niketown store.
He suggested that enough public testimony in Salem could hamstring the special legislative session, which Kitzhaber convened to assure Nike of a low income tax bill in exchange for a promised $150 million company investment in Oregon.
"Let's interrupt this process as much as possible," Caleb said, "and make sure crap like this doesn't happen anymore."
The turnout for the hastily scheduled Portland protest was small, however.
About 75 protesters attended, many of them veterans of last fall's Occupy Portland camp. The event was put together by left-wing groups including the People's Budget Project and Oregon Save Our Schools.
The rally began Thursday night at the holiday tree in Pioneer Courthouse Square, where protesters chanted, "We want equal tax share, not corporate welfare" and "Kitzhaber is a sellout."
That latter theme—progressives stabbed in the back by Dr. No—continued two blocks east at Niketown.
"This is a Democratic governor that's pushing this through," said Adam Sanchez, a member of the Portland Association of Teachers. "And for those of us in unions, we've got to turn around and say we will not give to a governor who will betray us."
A few protestors tried to march through the Niketown outlet, but were pushed back by store security. Over a bullhorn, Caleb told the activists to back down.
"I'm going to go home and sleep for an hour," he said, "And then I'm going to start sending out invitations for tomorrow down in Salem."