I volunteered to help out with the local transit agency here in Portland coping with the huge crowds expected for Senator Obama’s visit this morning. Trains were busy, but we didn’t get anywhere near the volume of people expected. It turns out we were a few hours too late.
Early Friday morning in Portland, people began lining up for seats to see the speech at the Memorial Coliseum. Some showed up just after midnight and braved unseasonably cold temperatures to keep their place in line.
12,000 tickets for the event were quickly snapped up after the visit was announced.
Television news had helicopter shots this morning of long lines outside the Coliseum while it was still dark. Portland police told me that a lot of people were there at 5:30 am, two hours before the doors were to open and four hours before Sen. Obama was scheduled to speak.
Obama was introduced by Gov. Bill Richardson, who served in the Clinton administration.
At the Portland rally, Sen. Obama was introduced by Gov. Richardson, saying he trusts Obama to end the Iraq war and bring troops home. He also said he knew Obama was a “really good guy” and a “once-in-a-lifetime leader.”
Richardson is reportedly a top consideration for the position of Vice President by both Sen. Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Richardson served in the first Clinton administration and said Democrats were fortunate to have two strong candidates, but it was time to support Sen. Obama in the “tough fight” expected against Republican candidate Sen. John McCain in the fall.
From here, Obama is traveling south to Salem for a speech this afternoon and then Eugene this evening, with a final stop near the southern border of the state tomorrow. Reportedly, this will not be his only visit to Oregon before the May primary. Senator Clinton is also likely to visit and a Portland police officer said they expected her to be joined by the former President Clinton.