PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he believes nightly protests that have spanned seven weeks would have ended by now if the federal authorities had stayed away.
Wheeler and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell held a virtual press conference on Friday about ongoing tensions in the city as federal officers are gaining national attention for their actions overnight.
Wheeler said Portland Police are operating under directives to deescalate tensions. He said things were beginning to calm down last week when federal officers came to town.
“The whole situation is blowing up as a result of the federal government,” he said. “Last week we were seeing deescalation but the intervention of federal officers reignited tensions.”
He blamed President Trump for the escalation in violence.
“We need our federal government to be held accountable, we need our president to be held accountable,” Wheeler said.
The mayor said he did not meet with Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf when he was in town this week. Lovell also did not meet with him, but said he wasn’t sure if anyone else from the Portland Police Bureau did. He later released a statement with clarification.
“I have since learned that Daryl Turner attended the event as a representative for the Portland Police Association in his role as Union President.”
Lovell also spoke about how Portland Police officers are handling the protests with federal authorities in town.
“At times federal officers may take action in proximity the federal officers have their objectives, and Portland Police have our objectives…our objective is to protect life, protect property, protect life and establish order,” Lovell said.
He said they do have an open line of communication but do not have any authority over them.
He said the bureau is still working towards building trust and reform and “deeply respects calls for justice, reform and transparency,” he said.