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Dispatches From March For Our Lives Demonstrations Around the Northwest

Thousands of people in Seattle, Salem, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Eugene, Spokane and other cities and towns in the Pacific Northwest joined nationwide March For Our Lives demonstrations against gun violence on Saturday.

Students led many of the marches, which came in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Marchers carried colorful homemade signs calling for safer schools, stricter gun control, and a change in elected leadership. 

“We need to save lives, that’s what I’m out here for,” said Martin Rogers, a senior at Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie, Oregon. “I want kids to be able to go to school and not be afraid of being shot.”

In downtown Portland, Oregon, crowds packed Pioneer Square and an adjacent five-block area chanting “vote them out!”

Credit Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network
Northwest News Network
Madelyn Olson, a senior at North Thurston High School, was one of the organizers of the March for Our Lives event in Olympia, Washington.

In Olympia, Washington, thousands of people gathered for a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol building, then marched to the office of the state's Superintendent of Public Instruction. 

One of the organizers was Madelyn Olson, a senior at North Thurston High School. She was a freshman when her dad, a teacher there, tackled a student who had fired two shots in the school commons. Olson said she has just turned 18 and is really excited to vote.

“If you’re not going to keep me safe, you’re not getting my vote and every person feels that way right now,” she said. “We’re not just kids, we’re not dumb, we know what we’re talking about when it comes to this.”

In Seattle, demonstrators gathered at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill, where volunteers with clip boards registered young people to vote. High school students led the march through downtown and on to Seattle Center.

“I’m going to be honest, marches aren’t really my thing,” said Gregorio Avalos, a senior at Chief Sealth International High School. “But I felt that this one was important only because it’s not just the school shootings we have to be worried about. It’s also about the shootings that happen, you know, in our streets.”

In Eugene, Oregon, demonstrators chanted “we want change” as the Raging Grannies performed an original anti-gun song.

“I’m not asking my representatives to take away law abiding citizens’ guns or to repeal the Second Amendment. I am asking then to do their job,” said Maya Corral, a senior at South Eugene High School.

Below is a sampling of photos and tweets from around the region: 

Additional reporting by Brian Bull, Austin Jenkins, Ericka Cruz Guevarra, and Will James. 

Deborah is an award–winning radio and television journalist whose career spans more than three decades. As the recipient of a 2018-2019 Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship, Deborah is currently focusing her reporting on adolescents and mental health.