Senator blasts Portland response to antifa, Proud Boys brawl

Civic Affairs

Gorsek calls Mayor Ted Wheeler's 'choose love' slogan meaningless and ineffective.

PORTLAND, OR – AUGUST 22: Members of the far-right group Proud Boys and other right wing extremists fight with far-left counter protesters on August 22, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. The Proud Boys and other far-right extremists fought with anti-fascist activists in Portland on the anniversary of a similar fight in 2020. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (GRESHAM OUTLOOK) — East County’s state senator blasted a “meaningless and ineffective gesture” made by the city of Portland earlier this month as violence erupted in Portland in a clash between the left and right.

“What happened last Sunday was a frightening and dangerous situation,” wrote Sen. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale. “This was a political decision made by city leadership, not some rogue police officers on the street.”

While Portland leaders and Mayor Ted Wheeler called for the two sides to “choose love,” things instead devolved to fireworks exploding, pepper spray and projectiles filling the air, and combatants firing paintball and airsoft guns.

The two sides, commonly known as Proud Boys and antifa, gathered on separate sides of the Willamette River at noon Sunday, Aug. 22. Ahead of the preplanned brawl, Portland leadership announced officers would not intervene or separate the opposing forces, asking people to be peaceful.

Instead the two sides fought for more than an hour along 122nd Avenue and in the parking lot of Parkrose High School on Shaver Street.

“What’s most confounding is that the mayor and police chief signaled that their officers would not attempt to control most of the problems that might arise and, that is exactly what happened,” Gorsek wrote.

Gorsek is a former Portland officer and a criminal justice educator. He said the violence was an inevitable outcome of not creating a plan to integrate changing community values with a more equitable policing model.

The Gresham Outlook and Pamplin Media Group’s papers are a KOIN 6 News media partner.

“Having police officers stand back and allow such violence is the antithesis of livability,” Gorsek wrote. “City leadership is undermining what confidence citizens may have in the police bureau by not allowing them to act.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Twitter News Widget

Trending Stories