Molotov cocktails, severe damage during NYE Portland riot

Crime

Unknown number of arrests made

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Molotov cocktails and other objects were thrown during a riot declared in Downtown Portland Thursday night that lasted into the early morning hours Friday, according to the Portland Police Bureau.

Officers responded to a large gathering in the area of SW 3rd Avenue and SW Main Street where a reported 80-100 people were present. Some people in the crowd began to engage in violence just before 8 p.m.

Damage left by a riot in downtown Portland Thursday, December 31, 2020 (Portland Police Bureau)

“At least two Molotov cocktail-style firebombs were thrown,” PPB said in a statement Friday. “Large, commercial grade aerial fireworks were launched at the Federal Courthouse and the Justice Center. Some individuals tried to use tools to break into the Justice Center but were not successful.”

PPB said officers citywide had to be pulled from answering emergency calls to respond to the riot. Furthermore, officers from the Federal Protective Services and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office also engaged the crowd and were targeted.

“Officers were attacked with large rocks, full size bricks, and frozen water bottles,” said PPB. “Some officers were targeted by paint balloons that may have been laced with a caustic substance as it caused burning to the skin. Some law enforcement officers suffered injuries, although no Portland Police officers were hurt.”

Despite a riot declaration and threats of arrest, citation or the use of force, some members of the crowd began lighting fires. PPB said a garbage can was lit ablaze and melted to the pavement; a crosswalk signal was torched; and various debris were thrown into the road at SW 3rd Ave and SW Main Street.

The crowd mostly dispersed by 2 a.m., police said. No CS gas was used during the incident, but inert smoke and some impact munitions were used.

The damage revealed

Later Friday, PPB released more info on the damage caused during the riot.

Two Starbucks coffee shops were severely damaged, at Pioneer Courthouse Square and at 1600 SW 6th. There was also vandalism and burglaries at the Portland Wine Bar, Ben Bridge Jewelers, Pandora Jewelers, Chase Bank and the Pacific Building, among other businesses.

Three people were arrested:

  • Daniel Wuanti, 20, of Portland cited for interfering with a peace officer and disorderly conduct,
  • Joshua Steele, 23, faces a burglary charge. His residence is not known.
  • And a 15-year-old from Vernonia is being held in Juvenile Detention on charges of riot, burglary, interfering with a peace officer and a warrant for sexual assault.

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