Portlanders plan to gather tonight to hold vigils for the 49 people killed in a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
The first memorial, organized by Multnomah County Commission candidate Eric Zimmerman, is expected to begin at 7 pm at the corner of Northwest Broadway and Northwest Couch Street.
The activist group PDX Trans Pride will host a candlelight vigil at Salmon Street Springs in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, starting at 8:15 pm.
Political leaders across Oregon offered statements of sympathy and horror in the hours after a gunman opened fire in the Orlando dance club Pulse, wounding another 53 people in the worst mass shooting in American history.
The shooter, an American citizen named Omar Mateen, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and targeted a Latin dance night at the popular Orlando club.
Portland officials called for citizens to rally to the support of their gay and lesbian neighbors.
"Next week is Portland's Pride Parade and Festival," Mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement. "I'm calling on all Portlanders to hold our LGBTQ community close, and come out in a show of force against terrorizing people because of who they love."
The shooting comes a week before Portland hosts its annual Pride Parade. The Portland Police Bureau announced it plans to provide extra patrols at Pride and local nightclubs, especially at dance clubs in the Old Town "entertainment district."
Pride Northwest, the nonprofit that organizes Pride events in Portland, is organizing another vigil for Thursday, June 16, at the Q Center in North Portland.
Every time hate attempts to cut us down, we in the LGBTQI communities refuse to be demolished," Pride Northwest president James Waldner said in a statement. "From the broken places, light and unity springs anew. From our battle wounds, love pours forth."