Protesters cleared from ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Pearl District

2020 Protests

Protesters cleared out once the declaration was made

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland police declared a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly early Thursday morning, as demonstrators from the 20th night of Portland protests continued to gather in the Pearl District in an effort to set up an “autonomous zone.”

Portland police declared a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, from Northwest 11th Street east to Northwest Park Avenue and Northwest Irving Street south to Northwest Everett Street. Police declared the civil disturbance as demonstrators continued to gather and camp outside what they believe to be Mayor Ted Wheeler’s residence in the Pearl District.

Marches, makeshift ‘autonomous zone’ during 20th night

Once the declaration was announced, protesters scattered. However, there is still much to clean up in the area. One person was arrested during this time, identified as 27-year-old Hailley Nolan. She was charged with interfering with a police officer and was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center.

“Our goal is to get the area back up and running as soon as possible so people can go about their day,” PPB Lieutenant Tina Jones said. “We want people to know the area is safe. We’re very pleased with the successful outcome this morning.

“There was an intent to create an autonomous zone in Portland and that failed last night.”

All other residents are asked to shelter-in-place for the time being. Any commuters should avoid the area as traffic is being impacted.

“I am proud of our PPB officers and command staff who carefully and safely dispersed this unlawful assembly,” said Chief Chuck Lovell. “The actions taken by some to barricade city streets and begin the creation of an autonomous zone caused great concern for public safety. Emergency responders need to be able to respond to critical life safety calls. There are acceptable ways to express first amendment rights and this was beyond the threshold for what is acceptable for Portland.”

Mayor Wheeler came outside around 7 a.m., saying he was there to help clean up. When asked for his thoughts on the attempted autonomous zone, Wheeler left no question as to where he stands on the issue — telling reporters he is “unimpressed” by the scene in Seattle.

“I want to state unequivocally — I absolutely do not support that, and I do believe it’s a distraction from the larger movement, which is to support and uplift black voices in our community,” he said.

Around midnight, the group started dragging items such as dumpsters, recycling bins, picnic tables and pallets into the street to create a barrier. Speakers declared the area an “autonomous zone.” Some have called it the “Patrick Kimmons autonomous zone.”

Hundreds of people gathered outside Revolution Hall, then marched across the Hawthorne Bridge and ended at Waterfront Park where they listened to speeches. Some in the group eventually moved into downtown Portland later in the night. A large group marched toward the Pearl District and joined with others in the area of NW Glisan and 9th.

For nearly three weeks, hundreds — often thousands — of people have gathered daily in Portland to support the Black Lives Matter movement, demanding racial justice and police reforms.

On Tuesday, more than 1,000 people met at Jefferson High School then marched on the southbound lanes of I-405. They occupied the Fremont Bridge for more than an hour to listen to speeches. Later in the night, a separate, smaller group again gathered in downtown Portland. Multiple protesters were hospitalized after a car plowed through a group marching down a downtown street.

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