Wheeler blames ‘handful of anarchists’ for violence

Portland

Statements come after 2 nights of declared riots in North Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler made a strong statement condemning Tuesday night’s riot outside of the Portland Police Association office and neighbors in the area are frustrated and traumatized over the continuing unrest.

“I want to take a minute to once again condemn violent and criminal actions of a handful of self-described anarchists who continue to try and burn down buildings and harm our city employees and others,” Wheeler said at the beginning of a City Council meeting.

The mayor reiterated his support for peaceful demonstrations but said the violence must stop. “I ask you to cease and desist immediately from your violent acts in our city,” he said.

One neighbor told KOIN 6 News his family feels traumatized and frustrated by the ongoing riots.

Douglas Armstrong, who lives in the Kenton neighborhood, is frustrated and traumatized by the ongoing riots in the area, April 14, 2021 (KOIN)

Douglas Armstrong took video of the fire because they were concerned it might spread to nearby homes. He said another neighbor tried to put it out with a hose before Portland Fire Department arrived.

“It affects everybody here in the neighborhood. We all come up every single time and there’s some of the neighbors that have children and they’re terrifed and crying,” he said. “It’s not easy for any of us.”

Armstrong said he was also harassed by a rioter and no longer feels safe in his own home. He told KOIN 6 News he and his neighbors are on edge and worried they might come back.

City Commissioners issue statement

In a joint statement, City Commissioners Jo Ann Hardesty, Mingus Mapps, Carmen Rubio and Dan Ryan said:

“The murder of Daunte Wright is a reminder that the call for justice for Black lives, accountability, and systemic community safety reform never stops. These events are a clear reminder of the work we still need to do, as a community and as elected leaders, to create a city that mirrors our collective values.

“We must condemn racial profiling and police violence just as strongly as we condemn indiscriminate property damage and the normalization of arson. We cannot and should not tolerate violence, and we cannot and should not continue to defer our dreams for a more equitable, inclusive, and just city.

“Our Council action last week is a meaningful first step that should give our community hope—hope that this first action will be followed promptly by other meaningful steps taken with our county, school district, state, and federal partners. Working together, peacefully and persistently, we can achieve the justice and reform our community seeks.”

Police declared a riot for the second night in a row Tuesday after a crowd of about 100 people set out on another “direct action” march from Kenton Park to the Portland Police Association office — where fires were quickly ignited.

Portland police said the group walked through Kenton and blocked traffic at North Lombard and Denver, which is where the PPA building is located. By 10 p.m., someone in the group had lit a fire directly next to the building in a garbage can, police said. Others reportedly shot fireworks toward the building.

Police said one person used an unknown accelerant on the wooden frame of a door to the building, igniting a fire that was growing larger. Firefighters with Portland Fire & Rescue were quick to respond and extinguish the fire at the building.

The fire is estimated to have done $25,000 in damage, according to the PPB.

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