What a weird night to be in Portland. Sometime shortly after 6 PM, small helicopters started swooping through downtown, and they were flying very low.

Here's a shot of the construction crane for Ladd Tower, an apartment highrise going up in the South Park Blocks. The building is going to be 23 stories tall, and this shot clearly shows the helicopter at a height lower than that.

Choppers over downtown Portland

A few more shots. Click them for a larger size - and keep in mind the sun was setting which means it was darker outside than the pics elude to.

Choppers over downtown Portland

Choppers over downtown Portland

Choppers over downtown Portland

Hey choppers! Your noise was getting in the way of me listening to Michelle Obama! Come on now. Actually, don't come on. Go away instead.

Choppers over downtown Portland

All of this was apparently a military training exercise. According to the Oregonian, they may be back more tomorrow.

Here's a great quote from the O:

"Although the city granted the military's request to train back in April, there was no public notice of the training until Portland Police, which is helping coordinate the training, issued a press release about 20 minutes prior to the start of the exercise."


I have to assume conspiracy theorists are having a blast with this whole thing.

Choppers over downtown Portland

Larger versions of these are posted on my Flickr page.

EDIT: There have been a lot of, ahem, interesting thoughts posted in the comments of this entry. I don't agree with a lot of what's being said down there, but I also happen to be a big believer in free speech, so I haven't edited any of it (except for deleting duplicate comments. Apparently, someone's computer locked up and somehow managed to post the same comment ten times).

::::: | Tuesday, Aug 26 2008 at 12:07 AM
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vince said:

whoa- nice work. i saw this shit last night and was hoping someone else would track down what was going on. thought this might be movie filming but the flying was way too aggressive. rad pics too

::::: | August 26, 2008 3:30 PM

Mark said:

Great shots! I saw the helicopters fly over Broadway when I was headed to dinner. I couldn't believe they were still buzzing around when we left the restaurant because we were there for over two hours!

::::: | August 26, 2008 4:41 PM

Planephotoman said:

Those little helos are MH-6M's from the Special Operations World. They have US Army Commandos and US Navy SEALs in them. Rest assured, these guys are just training to make sure they can accomplish their mission in a world where cities are used by terrorists wanting no part of a battlefield.

::::: | August 26, 2008 5:10 PM

Huey said:

These guys are just training. Okay --tomorrow we pull every fire alarm in the city. Training my rosey red butt.. they were doing urban assault flag training for riots. They were NOT doing this for terrorists-- they were doing it for citizens like -- enabling citizens that think it is all for the betterment of Portland.


::::: | August 26, 2008 5:35 PM

George Washington said:

These Nazi style SS praetorian storm-trooper exercises are going on all over the US - they are directing targeting AMERICANS not "foreign terrorists."

Ever hear of the LAW Posse Comitatus?

Did ANY media "news reporters" investigate and inquire whether ANY of these SOLDIERS are MERCENARIES with organizations such as BLACKWATER?

Local and state law enforcement has been NATIONALIZED (Nazification of America) - local politicians and law enforcment paid off to "cooperate" - The County Sheriff, who has the ultimate authority to stop and prevent these military exercises in their county, betrays his duty and oath to uphold and defend the Constitution and the People he is sworn to protect and serve.

This is sedition and treason per se against our Constitutional Republic. By the way, if you haven't seen or reviewed the training doctrines of the SS, all Americans are regarded as "potential terrorists" - We are witnessing the Nazi SS stormtroopers practicing to engage the People, NOT some foreign "terrorists." WAKE UP!

::::: | August 26, 2008 6:16 PM

mediamonarchy.com said:

we should listen to george washington... they're practicing how to take over american cities. and they like to do these provocative drills to desensitize you to seeing the military in your town. from denver to portland, the gameplan is the same...

::::: | August 26, 2008 7:27 PM

natalie El-Jourbagy said:

well that was disheartening. you not posting my comment. i showed your blog to my colleagues today at work and they all liked your flow of words.

::::: | August 26, 2008 9:17 PM

natalie said:

sorry about my last comment. apparently when i first commented to you i did not type in the letter needed to prevent my comment from appearing 'spam-like.' i originally wrote that i had seen the helicopters from our apartment last night and wanted to ask where were you when you took these tight photos. enjoy!

::::: | August 26, 2008 9:21 PM

Rob said:

No worries Natalie! I was actually just logging onto my blog now to see if somehow the extra letter doodad wasn't working properly because I couldn't imagine how a comment slipped through the cracks.

Sadly, fighting spam is becoming nearly impossible. Even with a spam blocker, I used to get 20 spams per day. Once I added the extra letter verification doodad, 100% of the spam stopped. Granted, I expect spammers to beat the system as more bloggers realize how effective that thing is. 99.999% of all comment spam is just like email spam. It's done automatically by a computer program - but, by adding the extra step of typing a letter, it's all stopped.

So, let's see... you asked where I took the pics from. I shot them right out my apartment's livingroom window. I'm over by the Safeway. Glad you liked them!

::::: | August 26, 2008 9:35 PM

aleut57 said:

thank god their are people who will protect are freedom and risk their lives to help us. As in years past the people who are whinning now if anything was to happen in the usa they would be the first cry babies saying help help boo hoo get a life or move to a different country assholes

::::: | August 27, 2008 10:56 AM

Bossofnoone said:

they are not protecting my freedom, maybe your lame butt, but not mine.

Portland has little to no strategic value - no industry to speak of

and I will be moving buy only after eating your dog and defending myself against assholes like you.

::::: | August 27, 2008 11:35 AM

corey said:

..not real sure how unannounced armed feds flying around my city equals protecting my freedom. totalitarianism here we come.

::::: | August 27, 2008 11:38 AM

Rob said:

Keep in mind that they weren't exactly unannounced. They were unannounced to us citizens until about 20 minutes before they arrived - and even then, the announcement was rather half-assed in my opinion. City officials had apparently agreed to the exercise months ago.

If there were something sinister going on, do you really think our city officials would be able to keep it secret? In this leftie town? (P.S. I'm a proud leftie for the most part. More of an independent with a strong left lean)

::::: | August 27, 2008 11:49 AM

Brad said:

What you are hearing is the sound of FREEDOM. Enjoy it! Most of the world doesn't have it. :)

::::: | August 27, 2008 3:03 PM

Rob said:

Really? The sound of soldiers in helicopters landing on rooftops is the sound of freedom? Really? We need pretty high boots to wade through the propaganda these days.

I'm not saying the military is coming to get us or anything like that... but to say the sound of the military landing on rooftops in the middle of a large U.S. metropolitan city is the sound of freedom....?


::::: | August 27, 2008 3:14 PM

jakesmudda said:

if you conspiracy freaks only knew how the guys in those helicopters do laugh at you !!! IDIOTS !!!

::::: | August 27, 2008 4:15 PM

Floyd Ferris Landrath said:

Has anyone asked Potter how it is the public was not informed until 20 minutes before it started? That seems to me like a major error and reflects poorly on Potter, the police and military.

The public is usually informed of any event that will cause disruption, close streets, etc.

This whole thing is causing something of a major distrubance here. I'm not saying it isn't needed, but if it's really just training, I'd have to give everyone involved an 'F' on preperation and public relations.

::::: | August 27, 2008 4:46 PM

Rob said:

Floyd: BINGO.

::::: | August 27, 2008 5:00 PM

ticktock said:

I am glad that the military finally took an interest in training here. I think that we should show our brothers from the military more of an encouragement here. They do the greatest and most exciting job in the world. If I have to be kept up for a little while at night to know that I am free I dont mind. I remember being awake one night 7 years ago because there was no noise from the air.
Safety would be a major concern to these guys and the city. If everyone drove downtown and blocked up all the streets because they announced it a week before then we could be even more furious.

::::: | August 27, 2008 6:48 PM

CW said:

I am amazed at the anger and paranoia these helicopters caused.
My neighbor and I watched them from our buildings patio. We thought they were neat, don't often see helicopters flying in formation over Mall 205 area. The second pass was lower and we could see the men sitting in the doorways.
Very nice pics.

::::: | August 27, 2008 8:22 PM

JodiFaye said:

HAHAHA you guys are dumb my husband is out there im in KY and im on the phone with him and he was WORKING!!! Wow its called TRAINING!!! Holy crap you guys are silly Get use to it i live by a military post and they fly by me ALL the time Calm yourselves!!! No its not terriots stupid hippies and liberal fucks!!! HAHAHAHA i find it HALARIOUS!!!

::::: | August 27, 2008 10:29 PM

Citizen said:

JodiFaye, the Special Operations Command which conducted the drill could really use a good public relations person. You should apply for the job.

Here's a little writing tip for you: Be concise. "Stupid hippies and liberal fucks" can be shortened to one simple word - "citizens." "Taxpayers" is even better. Think of us the next time your husband brings home his paycheck.

::::: | August 27, 2008 11:31 PM

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said:

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

::::: | August 28, 2008 8:53 AM

Ronald Reagan said:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

::::: | August 28, 2008 9:02 AM

natalie said:

New post please. Something cheery! :)

::::: | August 28, 2008 9:46 AM

Adoloph Hitler said:

They are comming for you... Its already too late. The secret govt. NWO will not be stopped. Revolt - Revolt -REVOLT!!

::::: | August 28, 2008 10:14 AM

sean gallagher said:

Really? so you guys would rather have the DoD spend millions of dollars to build buildings for these guys to train on or should they use what we have in beautiful Portland? do a search "160th SOAR" the best of the best

::::: | August 28, 2008 2:28 PM

marcus tullius said:

This wasn't Army training. It was the Army training us.
Police Chief Philippus, of San Antonio Texas, dealt with this ten years ago.
We need a Philippus here.

Nine minutes of your time to hear his story.
Youtube. Al Philippus.

::::: | August 28, 2008 8:25 PM

Joy said:

Yes they are preparing for martial law(coming soon to a city near you)! This is to control us the taxpaying American citizens -not the stupid so-called terrorists.Get ready for a 1984 Orwellian future.People Wake Up!

::::: | August 29, 2008 12:15 AM

Jane Smith said:

You people are all Stupid. I am a bartender and have seen all these guys out. They are awesome. They tip better then you Liberals. And they act like gentlemen. Frankly It is kind of relieving to have some real men around this town. So real get a life and start thinking about more important things. Like saving up for retirement. Oh but wait THE GOVT SHOULD GIVE YOU THAT. But bitch about them PROTECTING you.

::::: | August 29, 2008 3:38 AM

Erika said:

I am a little confused by some of the postings that I have read this morning. It must really suck to live in such a paranoid state of mind that when you see the military training you think they are going after you and your way of life. Your city knew that this was going to happen since April, ask those officials why you were only given 30 minutes notification, it is their job to let you know not the military. If you watch the news I am sure you are fully aware that our military is fighting in environments that are more urban than anything else. If hearing helicopters for a few hours means that they have better training to stay ALIVE while doing their jobs then just suck it up and quit bitching.

::::: | August 29, 2008 6:02 AM

Floyd Ferris Landrath said:

Hello all,

I think some of you need to be reminded that blind patrotism is unpatriotic.

Thank you...

P/s: I neglected to thank the potog for the fine pics. I put a couple up and linked the story to this site. Pretty good response so far.

::::: | August 29, 2008 8:24 AM

Erin said:

Erika... thanks for saying it like it is... Rediculous and pretty sickening to hear some of the BS that I've read up above.

I met one of these guys randomly in San Diego, and crossed paths with him while they were here while they were out in our city. The nicest group of people you'll meet. Highest integrity and character.

They WERE here for training FYI ... they DO put their lives on the line for our freedom. They HAVE been in the heat of the war and they dedicate untold hours to THIS training. They work so much it blows my mind and you all out of the water in dedication and loyalty to anything. Left wing, right wing... who really cares?? When it all wraps up at the end of the day we wouldn't be living here with the opportunities, freedoms and peace of mind, you so ungratefully bad mouth, with out those men and women training harder then Olympic athletes day in and day out of, literally, everyday their lives.

It might not be "ideal" what is going on across the seas... but it sure seems easy to make judgement calls on something you know absolutely NOTHING about if you really have a moment of introspective thinking.

I'm sure you like to sound smart though... someone buys into that I am sure...

I wish I could change some things about the country we all share; however, you will NEVER find me bad mouthing the people who ensure we keep it a place where you do get to sit there and furiously type away your painfully rediculous statements.

Much love to my boys out there all the helos!!


::::: | August 29, 2008 11:38 AM

Floyd Ferris Landrath said:

Dear Erin and Erika,

With all due respect I think you both miss the point. Regardless whose responsibility it was to inform the community (much less give us any chance to ask questions or be a part of the process), someone dropped the ball. Big time.

We all have the right to both praise and criticize. And, they are not mutually exclusive.

I haven't had a chance to check for updates so I don't know if any of those involved clarified the situation yet. I'm too busy. But if anyone can check and post it back here that would be great. I'll check back later tonight.

Thank you...

::::: | August 29, 2008 1:46 PM

Erika said:

I never said that no one dropped the ball as far as notifying the city, what I thought was disgusting was some of the comments posted above,i.e. joy,marcus tullius, George Washington, none of which have your name on them. Yes, we all do have the right to praise and criticize. With that being said, criticizing because of the lack of notification about the training and sounding downright paranoid about why the guys are training are two completely different things and that is what I was commenting on.

So please explain to me where I missed the point.

::::: | August 29, 2008 2:07 PM

Erika said:

I forgot to say thanks to Erin...

::::: | August 29, 2008 2:10 PM

Erin said:

Your welcome Erika ... and Jane... love your comment, "Frankly It is kind of relieving to have some real men around this town." I couldn't agree more...

Floyd, I agree we all deserve the right to state our feelings/opinions, being reasonalbe and realistic isn't too much to ask for in that. Or is it...??? ;o)

Anyway, in talking with my SEAL friend... the reason behind not putting out advance notification of what they were doing is b/c it would have brought more media and more potential safety issues then getting in and getting out (for the most part). It needed to be low key and not highly advertised. Hellooo... have you read some of the blogs on this and other pages?? There is some nut job out there wanting people to:
"revolt, revolt, REVOLT"
That's just what he needs... some time to actually put something like that together... Lord 'o' Lord

It might have created some nuisances in noise and startled a few people but all in all it really wasn't such a big deal.

I think we are so shielded from anything out of the norm here in our little pocket that things like this get some people flustered and others who look for any opportunity to raise a ruckess or get overly worked up about things. They probably could've wrapped it up by 10pm if we want to get picky.

But how cool to watch that type of skill in action...

Enough said.

::::: | August 29, 2008 3:58 PM

Tara said:

Wow, I haven't read this amount of paranoia since...ok, well a few minutes ago when I found George Washington's comment here:


Wow. I gotta say it again: Wow.

In agreeance with the last comment, it would present more harm to the public to announce training exercises such as these ahead of time.

In regards to accusing these exercises as being 'practices' for riots, WHOA. I'd like to see Portlanders be able to put down the doobie long enough to break windows and throw bricks, personally.

::::: | August 30, 2008 2:27 AM

Floyd Ferris Landrath said:

On Aug. 26 the O reported: “Lt. Potter [not related to Portland Mayor Potter] said an alert should have gone out a few hours before the exercise. But officials did not want too much notice because it could have attracted a crowd, causing a safety issue.”

In the same report, “John Doussard, the mayor's spokesman… My personal opinion is I wish we had done a better job of (alerting citizens)."

Mayor Potter signed an agreement with the DoD back in April granting permission for the training and specifying several details related to it. However, notification was either overlooked, or it was part of the agreement from the start?

If it was overlooked, then who is accountable? Does something need to be put in place so it doesn’t happen again?

I think all this is important because:

· This exercise exposed members of the public to an unnecessary risk that was made unavoidable due to the lack of notification.
· Several city ordinances like noise and nuisance laws were broken or waved for this exercise without the legally required permitting and of course, public notification.

If all the parties involved wanted to keep the public in the dark, I guess they succeeded. Paradoxically though, this secret anti-terrorism training appears to have also succeeded in terrorizing a large number of people.

But I guess I should just shut-up and go shopping.

::::: | August 30, 2008 9:37 AM

Maebelle said:

Okay, so I've been reading this Northwestern Liberal lingo and I have to say that most of the people posting comments on this blog are completely out of touch with the real world. I am from a part of Virginia that houses one of the largest military installations in the world and this type of training is as common as stoplights. These people aren't here to take over American cities - you have to be fucking kidding me. These people are here to assure that when they are needed you will continue to have the right to criticize them via the 1st Amendment (under their protection). When they are needed they will go and do what is needed. They will leave their families and risk their lives so that this country will stay as safe as possible. Yes, I know they volunteered for this task, but that makes them all the more honorable. When they are fighting, most of you will be packing up your granola and heading for Canada. Get a grip and open your eyes. Since the American Revolution, had we not had defenders of this country, we wouldn't have a country.

::::: | August 31, 2008 6:09 AM

Sandi said:

I doubt that most people think the actual soldiers themselves are doing anything more or less than training exactly as they've been told to do. It's not their agenda that is at question. So many of our fine, upstanding soldiers went into the military in order to protect us. You, me, everyone.

The majority of them are good men and women, interested in what we are all interested in... living our lives and being free. People who are doing their best and who mean only the best for us and them and their families- and our families.

But the problem here is ignorance, not intent. It's not the common soldier, doing these drills, that has the scorn and anger of so many people. If anything, the very fact that these are mostly good men and women adds significantly to the anger and outrage...

No. The problem is that their desire to do the right thing, to protect, to serve, to be patriots and to be good people; is being exploited. That should provoke us all to outrage.

The fear that we all have is that they, like so many people such as those who have posted here, will wake up to the truth too late. That it will only be when, at last, it's their day, or their families' day; that only then will they wake up to the fact that they're being terribly used and manipulated.

Just as so many of you are.

Before you make the choice to be hateful, snide, and derisive towards "stupid fucking hippies" or "stupid fucking conspiracy theorists," look into some things that are going on.

North American Union
Heros Act
Patriot Act

Your freedoms are being undermined. Slow, steady, and certain is this undermining, too. You must wake up.

Remember the old poem:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

::::: | August 31, 2008 10:29 AM

wellssss said:

well of course the guys in the helicopters are laughing at the conspiracy theorists, after all tin foil will hardly provide much protection against a MAC 11 or what have you

::::: | September 1, 2008 9:28 AM

StCuthbert said:

When they kick out your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

You can crush us
You can bruise us
But you'll have to answer to
The guns of Brixton

::::: | September 2, 2008 4:52 PM




::::: | October 29, 2008 2:58 PM

J-Fizzle said:

Citizen said "Think of us the next time your husband brings home his paycheck."

Military pay taxes too, idiot.

::::: | January 16, 2009 10:30 AM

WarriorSoul said:

Well, as one of the operators on the helo's I'm here to say: BOO!

Buncha scardy cats...all we are trying to do is get some good training! We didn't bother anyone...didn't eat any babies or rape any women (God...Oregon has some UGLY women!)...just some good old fashioned MOUT ops! Get Some! You like our gear? You should see some of the stuff we got: all paid for with YOUR dime! God I love Taxes...we have gear that will blow your mind! We can see through walls and tell who has guns and other interesting things! We can install data-interrogation equipment at the demarc or on the bridge-taps and see all your precious emails and what sites you visit! That's right...we KNOW who is visiting stormfront.org or whatever! We can easily snoop your passwords and any other info you send over the wire!You won't believe the sh*t we can do! It's useful stuff too...so we know who is going to try and stand against us, the defenders of democracy (LOL!)Bottom line is: You are just sheeple...tow the line, work, pay taxes, pay more taxes! Like cattle in a pen: your life is useful as long as you are paying into the system the "haves" can take advantage of! Once you stop working: your useless...do you really think you could continue, indefinitly, the practice of "retiring" at 52 and living off the teat till you are 80? Do the math: once you become useless...you have to go...and we are the ones who will do it!

Better to be on the side of the have's, don't you think? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA Suckers...

::::: | January 16, 2009 6:53 PM

Brian K. Sain said:

“For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know”

Support an American Sniper in the Global War on Terror.


::::: | January 20, 2009 8:25 AM

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