PORTLAND, Ore. -- A sea of several thousand scientists and their supporters flooded downtown Portland’s Waterfront Park Saturday afternoon for the city’s March for Science, one of roughly 500 taking place around the world in conjunction with Earth Day.
Organizers told KGW they expected a turn-out of roughly 10,000 people, though many estimated the crowd far exceeded that.
“Science is a form of exploration that we all use for every facet of our life,” said Larry Stark, a machinist with the University of Washington.
Many brought signs, a large portion of which were political, with phrases like “Make America Smart Again” and “Climate change is real.”
Photos: Science March on Portland 2017
Although organizers trumpeted the event’s “nonpartisan” platform, participants in Portland were quick to take aim at President Trump’s proposed funding cuts to scientific research agencies, like the EPA, which stands to lose 31 percent of its funding if his proposed budget is passed
“Ten years ago I never would have imagined doing something like this,” said Scott Cohen, a retired theoretical physicist. “Science is being threatened. This administration is basing all of their ideas on falsehoods and lies, and I just really strongly feel that science needs to be supported. We need to base policy on facts and evidence."
Local congressional leaders were also on hand, blasting the President’s take on government-funded research.
“We have failed in the political process because they've made science partisan,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer. “They've undermined the credibility and confidence that people have, for example in science, dealing with climate."
The president has said cuts to agencies like the EPA and the National Institutes of Health are necessary to boost military spending and reduce the national deficit.
Portlanders marching Saturday called them frightening.
“I mean I believe in fact-based decisions, and she believes in fact-based decisions, and making decisions not all on emotion but looking at some facts and evidence,” said John Bledsoe, whose daughter conducts cancer research. “So I think that's really important.”
Portland’s March for Science started at around 10 a.m., with an hour of speeches. The crowd took to the streets by 11 a.m. and marched for more than an hour.