Sanders supporters wait in line outside of the Moda Center in hopes of getting a seat. An estimated 11,500 people attended the event, which was down from the estimated 28,000 who showed up to his rally last year on Aug. 10.
Campaign volunteer Ian Rodell believes Sanders is the only candidate with a moral compass guiding his campaign. As a political science student at Portland Community College, Rodell said he enjoys working on an exciting and positive political movement.
Sanders fans waiting to enter hold up homemade signs. While doors were set to open at 9:45, due to tightened security from the Secret Service, the start of the event was delayed.
Elizabeth Price and her 15 month-old daughter Alexandra Price drove up from Eugene at 4 a.m. to attend the rally with coworker Marilyn Drake. “I’m hoping this is going to be the start of a major turn in our society in the way that our government is run,” Price said about why it was important for her to bring her daughter. “For them to be here and have the pictures to say ‘I was there,’ I think that will be special.”
A rally attendee shows his support with body paint. The new hashtag #WeAreNotThis arose on Twitter after the passing of House Bill 2 in North Carolina earlier this week, which stroke down all LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinances and denied transgender bathroom rights.
Delia Paine, who owns her own button company Via Delia, has sold handmade political buttons since the 2008 Barack Obama election. During that and the 2012 election, she sold 60,000 Obama buttons and has four buttons in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Even after entering the venue, the crowd had to wait almost an hour for the rally to begin. Attendees made homemade signs, read books and even braided each other’s hair.
A fan in the standing section in front of the stage holds up a sign before Sanders’ speech. While waiting for the event to start, the whole arena did the wave over Sanders’ mix of classic rock hits like John Lennon’s “Power To the People” and newer tracks like Muse’s “Uprising.”
Portland-based indie rock band the Thermals played its 2009 hit “Now We Can See” to warm up the crowd. Lead singer Hutch Harris joked they were actually playing at the record release party for the group’s new LP, We Disappear, which came out the same day as the rally.
Sanders began his March speech in Portland by criticizing his two main opponents: Clinton and projected Republican nominee Donald Trump. But he quickly transitioned to discussing his main goals, which include wealth redistribution, free public higher education and increased environmental protection.
The crowd was responsive to Sanders’ message, especially when he asked who in the room still had college loans and many in the audience raised their hands.
Sanders ended his speech by encouraging everyone to vote in the Washington caucus on March 26 and the Oregon primary on May 17. Washington has 101 Democratic delegates and Oregon has 74 to be divided between Sanders and Clinton.
Bernie quickly greets fans at a Portland rally before heading to Seattle for another rally that night at the Safeco Field, where more than 15,000 people attended.