This Local Character Has A Story Behind His Sign
We all have our go-to nice weather activities. Maybe you like to read a book under a tree or hit up happy hour downtown. On a sunny summer day, Cory Tracy of Portland can be found with anti-hate signs in Monument Square.
On the day I stopped to chat with him, Cory was holding a poster board with the words, "I punch nazis" painted in capital black letters. He didn't have a money collection plate or any requests to passersby; only a smile and a sign with a clear message.
I asked Cory where he found inspiration for his sign. He told me that years ago, a street preacher across the street from his apartment would yell gospel and he had had enough. "I'm an a--hole atheist," Cory said. "So I made my own sign.. and while he did his thing, I did mine!"
When asked if the preacher was still countering him, he responded, "No no, the church moved. But I'm sticking around here, I don't want to commute."
Wearing a "F*** Trump" hat atop his head and sporting an "Angry Baby" shirt with a caricature of Trump as a toddler, Tracy's demeanor is a welcoming and contagious optimism amidst the depressing political scene he's protesting. If you stop to ask him about his sign, his dry sense of humor will keep you chatting through a few cycles of crosswalk lights.
I told him my dog's name was Ilya - a Russian name - somewhat related to his theme. "She's one of the good Russians, though. She's not out to influence our democracy," I joked. "That's what she wants you to think," Cory laughed. "She's really an inside dog."
As I said goodbye and walked away, I heard a man behind me greet Cory by name. Something tells me I'm not the only one who has walked away from Cory with a smile on my face.