Romney greeted by PDX protesters, raises half-million dollars

Romney greeted by PDX protesters, raises half-million dollars »Play Video
A Portland Police Officer talks with protesters Kelly Caldwell, right and Miriam German as they lay in a street during Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's Oregon fundraiser Monday, June 4, 2012, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

PORTLAND, Ore. – About 100 protesters were on hand Monday as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was in Portland for a campaign fundraiser.

Romney attended a private luncheon at the Governor Hotel in downtown for about two hours and raised over a half million dollars for his campaign. The event was not open to the media or the public and cost a minimum of $2,500 to attend plus an extra $2,500 for a VIP.

Outside the hotel dozens of demonstrators held signs, some shouting at Romney supporters attending the fundraiser. They were motivated by a variety of reasons. Some were angry at Romney's economic policies while others vented their frustration with his corporate ties and his personal wealth.

Police blanketed the area, shutting down access to the hotel in each direction. They made no arrests even after some protesters laid down in the middle of the road for moments at a time.

The biggest impact may have been on food cart owners along Southwest Alder who were forced to shut down for a few hours.

"They let us know at 10 o'clock that we are not allowed to open today so we didn't make any money," said Nancy Ettinger, who owns Savor Soup House.

Phil Dems, who works at Dumptruck food cart, said the closures kept him from making any money, too.

"They didn't know that I was in there cooking dumplings, and I came outside and they told me to leave," he said. "I'm a little irritated that I had to come downtown to be told to go home. It means I don't get paid today."

The food carts eventually opened after Romney left the hotel around 1:30 in the afternoon. Secret Service and police blocked off streets and aligned vehicles to shield Romney from view. He did not do any public campaigning.

In a morning news conference, Democrats criticized Romney's record at a private equity firm and as Massachusetts governor.

Demonstrations included activists from Planned Parenthood, Occupy Portland, unions and the Democratic Party. They echoed the message of President Barack Obama's campaign, saying Romney was successful in the private sector by maximizing profits for investors at the expense of regular workers.
   
"He's made his fortune putting working people out on the street," said Ben Nelson, 35, a member of the Laborers' International Union. "We're going to stand up against that whenever we need to."
   
Romney has argued that his work in the private sector makes him most qualified to improve the economy.

It's his third stop in Portland in the last year. He will hold another private fundraiser at a house in Bellevue, Wash. Monday evening. Romney recently wrapped up the race for the nomination with a win in the May 29 Texas primary.

Jonathan J. Cooper of The Associated Press contributed to this report.