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Portland or Seattle: who has the better Occupy photo?

In the annals of Portland vs. Seattle comparisons, credit Occupy for creating a new battleground, inadvertently. Photos from police pepper spraying of demonstrators in both cities have gone viral.

A photo by Seattlepi.com’s Josh Trujillo caught world attention first. It pictures 84-year-old demonstrator (and avid supporter of Mayor Mike McGinn) Tuesday in the seconds after she was hit with pepper spray in downtown Seattle. It’s a genuinely mind-boggling shot that started popping up on Facebook almost immediately.

Now comes The Oregonian, reporting that one of its photos has gone viral and quoting a former chief blogger for the Obama campaign as tweeting, “Should win a Pulitzer.” A New York Times writer asked if the photo had been Photoshopped. The paper practically harumphed in indignation: “The Oregonian does not digitally alter images.”

The photo by Randy L. Rasmussen is also amazing, capturing the instant at which a woman demonstrator with her mouth open, possibly in shock, gets hit with a clear shot of pepper spray. The Oregonian credited Brooke Jarvis of Bainbridge Island-based YES! Magazine with starting the Portland photo toward going viral. Jarvis said this morning, “They are both very powerful photos. I think probably the one from Portland, to me, is more iconic because of the actual moment.”

Update: An Oregonian story reports that the Portland protester, 20-year-old Liz Nichols, says that, at the moment of the spraying, she was yelling at officers that she was being mistreated.

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