Wheeler touts ‘coordinated plan’ ahead of possible verdict violence

Multnomah County

Wheeler will be joined by city commissioners, law enforcement officials

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he has a coordinated plan to handle the expected violence following the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.

Wheeler held a press conference moments before the verdict was read on Tuesday, saying Oregon State Police have been made available to assist the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. He also said he has declared a State of Emergency to open resources.

He also said the Oregon National Guard is on standby.

Wheeler blamed the destruction on a group of 100 or so “largely white self-described anarchists who engage in criminal destruction of our economy and confidence.”

He told businesses to prepare by securing trash bins and dumpsters, construction materials and outdoor tables. He told them to leave lights and security cameras on.

The State of Emergency is in place for 24 hours. It allows the Mayor to declare a curfew, which he has not done yet.

“They use crime and violence who intimidate those who don’t share their political views. These people aren’t protesters, they are criminals. Their goal is to destroy the economic center of Oregon, he said.

“Even small BIPOC owned businesses are targeted,” he said.

Windows smashed at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Portland during a direct action demonstration on Monday, April 19, 2021. (KOIN)

On Monday night, vandals smashed windows at businesses in Northeast Portland Monday night as part of a “direct action” march that also blocked traffic and caused delays. Portland police declared the event an unlawful assembly about 20 minutes after it began.

“People in this crowd are destroying windows at a local community center that serves children,” PPB tweeted. The center, the Blazers Boys and Girls Club on NE Martin Luther King Boulevard, had its windows and door smashed.

Two people were arrested: Emily Keppler, 27, arrested for felony criminal mischief; and Emma Lightstone, 27, arrested for riot and criminal mischief, both felonies.

Last week, riots were declared in Portland on 3 separate days, including Friday night after Portland police shot and killed Robert Delgado at Lents Park. On Saturday, an unlawful assembly was declared outside the PPB East Precinct.

Rioters, arsonists and vandals were destructive in a relatively short period of time on Friday night. The Oregon Historical Society and churches were targeted and damaged and many fires were set.

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who is also the Fire Commissioner, urged people to stop setting fires, in part because of the Red Flag danger from the hot and dry weather.

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