Portlanders march calling for Trump tax returns

Hundreds marched downtown Saturday afternoon

Hundreds of people marched through downtown Portland on April 15, 2017 as part of a national movement urging Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (KOIN)
Hundreds of people marched through downtown Portland on April 15, 2017 as part of a national movement urging Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Protesters took to the streets in dozens of cities nationwide Saturday to call on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, saying Americans deserve to know about his business ties and potential conflicts of interest.

Hundreds of people marched through downtown Portland on April 15, 2017 as part of a national movement urging Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (KOIN)
Hundreds of people marched through downtown Portland on April 15, 2017 as part of a national movement urging Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (KOIN)

“You can’t have democracy if you don’t have the full facts and full info to make a well reasoned choice,” Portland marcher Leanne Serbulo said. “So democracy demands transparency.”

Protests — dubbed the Tax March — were organized in nearly 150 cities, and stemmed from the women’s march that took place the day after Trump’s inauguration.

Seven marches happened in Oregon, including downtown Portland’s march from Terry D. Schrunk Plaza. Between 1,000 and 1,5000 people turned out for the Portland march, which started at 1 p.m. and wrapped up around 3:30.

“I’m here because I think our government is corrupt and I think we have the right to know what our president is up to financially and whether he is beholden to other governments,” Portland marcher Amara Holstein said.

Trump is the first major party nominee in more than 40 years not to release his tax returns, saying it was because he was under audit. He later said that voters don’t care.

“We do care. We want to see his taxes,” said Ann Demerlis, who was among hundreds who marched in Philadelphia from City Hall to an area in front of historic Independence Hall, carrying signs and chanting “We want your taxes now!”

For four decades, presidents and major party nominees have released some of their tax returns, with the exception of Gerald Ford. Trump’s break with precedent has raised questions about possible conflicts of interest.

Hundreds of people marched through downtown Portland on April 15, 2017 as part of a national movement urging Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (KOIN)
Hundreds of people marched through downtown Portland on April 15, 2017 as part of a national movement urging Donald Trump to release his tax returns. (KOIN)

For many marchers, it was about more than Trump’s taxes. Portlanders turned out to air their grievances about a variety of issues they have with the president.

“I’m also out here today because I’m very upset about the deportations that are happening and I feel like Trump is separating families and we need to stop that,” Serbulo said. “I’m here to stand up for my friends and my neighbors who are in danger of deportation.”

Protesters talked about government corruption and transparency, saying Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns makes them wonder what he’s hiding.

“I came of age in the 60s,” Sandra Holstein said. “I marched, I protested, I taught anti-war poetry and now I see even worse things happening.”

Julie Wheeler said she’s concerned about “odd connections” between the Trump administration and Russia that seem to be passed over and ignored.

Wheeler described herself as an activist, but she didn’t always see herself that way.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden spoke at a DC rally and march demanding President Trump release his tax returns, Aoril 15, 2017 (YouTube)
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden spoke at a DC rally and march demanding President Trump release his tax returns, Aoril 15, 2017 (YouTube)

“I’m an activist now,” Wheeler said. “I’ve never been an activist before but the stolen election of Trump has certainly made and activist out of me.”

The Washington, D.C., march began with a rally at the U.S. Capitol, where Sen. Ron Wyden called on Trump to ‘knock off the secrecy.” The Oregon Democrat says the people have “a basic right to know whether the president pays his fair share.”

Tuesday is the deadline for taxpayers to file returns.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.