LEE HOCHBERG: As travelers scurried this weekend to holiday flights, many were still trying to make sense of last week's political upheaval. Some at Portland International Airport were openly agitated.
SUSAN SPARROW: If we lose the strongest world leader, what is going to happen and who's going to take his place, and it's all about something that was none of our business in the first place.
LEE HOCHBERG: Some Republicans argued the president had it coming.
ROBERT ZACKROFF: If I had done what he had done in a grand jury, then I'd be sitting in jail, and I think the honorable thing for him to do would be to resign.
LEE HOCHBERG: But many from both parties have begun thoughtful consideration about the process by which the nation got to impeachment and where it goes from here. Bob Porter, a Texas Republican visiting Oregon, worried about the impact of a Senate trial.
BOB PORTER: I think the honorable thing would be resignation. I think false - impeachment process - getting the Senate in the trial is going to do nothing to hurt this country.
LEE HOCHBERG: Though Porter said the president deserved punishment for lying to the grand jury, he's disturbed by how the Starr investigation expanded and how Republicans in Congress handled impeachment proceedings.
BOB PORTER: It seemed like a vendetta to me. And as a Republican, I'm really disappointed in my representatives from the state of Texas. They're not going to get my vote again.
LEE HOCHBERG: A few miles from the Portland Airport at the Mount Zion Baptist Church parishioners were sorting through the political developments. Felicia Bell said when she first heard of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, she was unconcerned. But the subsequent disclosures of extramarital affairs by Congressmen Hyde and Livingston changed her mind.
FELICIA BELL: A year ago I was thinking more on - it's just a sex thing, you know, but I just think now it - they need to have something done about things like this - now another politician - he's been fooling with his wife. I mean, is this what they do in the White House? Do they work or what?
LEE HOCHBERG: Roy Granville, a church usher, disagreed.
ROY GRANVILLE: We are not perfect, and none of us here are perfect. And we do make mistakes and when we do make mistakes like he did make, he came forward and he admitted it, you know. So what more can you ask for and what more can you do?
LEE HOCHBERG: At a coffee house in Portland's trendy Northwest neighborhood several people spoke of a suddenly fragile American democracy, a system that impeached a president against popular opinion.
TONY SOVA: I think anything's possible now. I mean, for this to happen makes me think, well, what's next? What we think the norm today may not be the norm tomorrow.
LEE HOCHBERG: Laura Feit, a graphic designer, bemoaned the rise of a sexual McCarthyism that she says will take down Democrat and Republican alike.
LAURA FEIT: I mean, Livingston resigning, it's absurd to lose your job for having extramarital affairs; that's frightening to me. Who among us - you know - can claim to stand up to their litmus test of purity? No one. It's ridiculous.
LEE HOCHBERG: Still, she spoke of her bitter disappointment in President Clinton.
LAURA FEIT: Mostly I feel let down by Bill Clinton. I feel like he held great promise for us and he let us down. He didn't protect us from letting this happen. He should have known it was going to happen.
LEE HOCHBERG: But if Oregonians were shaken by last week's developments, perhaps the most poignant thoughts came from elders, who've seen many presidents and many shifts of political fate.
MARGARET SALOMAN: I never have seen anything like that. I came from Germany. I went to Bolivia. I went - lived in Argentina. I've never seen anything like that.
LEE HOCHBERG: At the Beaverton Lodge Retirement Center in suburban Portland several people - age 80 and older - Democrat and Republican - said they're angry and scared about last week's developments.
MARGARET SALOMAN: It used to be a democracy but what is coming out now is that a democracy? I wouldn't say -- no.
NANCY SADLER: Our credibility is shot to pot as a country and a government.
WOMAN: Go out and ask all these -
NANCY SADLER: It makes me very - it makes me very angry.
ROY HAYES: It makes me very frightened.
LEE HOCHBERG: 89-year-old Roy Hayes, a Republican, believes the president broke the law and deserves impeachment, but the partisan tone of last week's proceedings left him uneasy.
ROY HAYES: The wrong type of person is going to come into our government and take it over.
LEE HOCHBERG: What kind of person?
ROY HAYES: Well, I hate to say it. I don't know as I want to say -
WOMAN: It's the Republicans.
ROY HAYES: I am a Republican.
WOMAN: Say it. It's the far right. It's the far right.
WOMAN: They're going to take some of the power away from the people; they already have. I have a very helpless feeling. I don't -
LEE HOCHBERG: Looking ahead to a potentially rancorous Senate trial, 82-year-old Marge Engles wondered if quality people will be drawn to be tomorrow's leaders.
MARGE ENGLES: Well, I think this is going to cause people who are really talented people to be afraid to get into politics.
WOMAN: I think so too. Yes. Keep them scared.
LEE HOCHBERG: Still, as Americans went about their holiday business, impeachment supporters argued the laws of the nation have worked well for two centuries, and it's not time to eschew them now.
HERB HERSHKOWITZ: The fact that he did commit a crime by perjuring himself and lying to the grand jury, he should be prosecuted just like anybody else. He's not above the law.
LEE HOCHBERG: All sides agree the events in Washington are unbecoming and somber, a marked contrast to the holiday season.