PORTLAND, Ore. -- Wednesday night as thousands of protesters shut down Interstate 84 and Interstate 5 near downtown Portland, thousands of drivers sat in their cars and stewed.
One of them was Lea Ann Easton, on her way back to the office after a long business trip.
“I thought, why are people protesting on I-5? It’s dangerous, it’s stupid, it seems counterproductive. They shouldn’t be doing that. There are other ways to protest!” she said.
Easton is familiar with protests and social justice. She’s a lawyer who helped make gay marriage legal in Oregon.
But Wednesday night she was just another tired commuter on the way home.
She saw the frustration of other drivers around her as they turned off their cars as I-5 came to a standstill near the Terwilliger Curves.
“Trust me. I saw the people banging their heads against steering wheels and people getting frustrated in traffic. and you know part of the concern is that not everybody is going to react in a peaceful way,” Easton said.
A caller to the Lars Larson show Thursday made that same point.
He told the audience his wife was surrounded by protesters in her car on the Burnside Bridge.
“And they were banging on my wife’s window at her face with knives. And believe me if I was in that car somebody would a got hurt yesterday,” the caller said.
Several others expressed frustration and outrage on social media.
Police said their goal was to protect the public and they didn't have enough police officers to direct the thousands of protesters who took to the streets.
The leader of one of the protest groups, Portland’s Resistance, told KGW protesters are shutting down highways to make the biggest impact possible.
"I think if we just protested on the sidewalk, nobody would talk about us," said Portland's Resistance leader Gregory McKelvey. “I understand being stuck in traffic is inconvenient but it’s also inconvenient to be black, or be Latino, or Muslim, or LGBT in Trump’s America."