On Friday afternoon, about a half a million people in Oregon — 10% of the state’s population — were under some kind of evacuation warning. As the wildfires burned in the West, it transformed the sky above Portland into the most hazardous air on the planet.
For many in Oregon, and in Portland in particular, it was only the latest development in what has already been a season of horror and discontent — on top of a deadly pandemic.
President Donald Trump has painted the city as a place under siege. For months, BLM protesters engaged in nightly clashes with police. The Trump administration repeatedly attacked Portland officials. Federal officers moved into the city, deploying tear gas.
Then the fires came, bringing toxic smoke and lines of cars full of people fleeing north from burned towns further south, the stories of people missing and killed.