In mid-August 2004 we swung by a rally in Portland on the waterfront near downtown held by then-Democratic nominee John Kerry. It was enormous. Our eyeball estimate ran to somewhere over 20,000, but ground-level viewing was incomplete. Official estimates put the number at approaching 50,000.
Today's rally by candidate - not even yet nominee, and still strongly contested - Barack Obama drew, according to fire department estimates, about 75,000. It must be the largest single audience for a political rally ever in Oregon; it could be the largest ever in the Northwest (certainly bigger than any in Idaho).
That could represent close to a tenth of all the ballots cast, in both parties, in the current primary election. (So far, 582,998 ballots have been returned so far, so the number should hit three-quarters of a million or so; maybe more - probably around 100,000 more than four years ago.)
The numbers from Obama's last Oregon stop of the primary, at Pendleton, will of course be a lot smaller. But they'll be interesting to see, too.