‘I was blinded’: MultCo commissioner in Mom Bloc tear gassed

Protests

Federal agents have repeatedly used tear gas on protesters

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Sharon Meieran is an emergency room doctor who joined peaceful protesters on Saturday night outside the Hatfield Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland after getting off her shift with other healthcare workers.

She is also a Multnomah County commissioner. That night she was part of the Mom Bloc, a group of mothers who linked arms in front of the federal courthouse. They were eventually met with rubber bullets and tear gas in what she said was an unprovoked attack.

Multnomah County Commissioner Sharon Meieran, July 20, 2020 (KOIN)

When she and the others were teargassed, she ran. But she came back to help others who were gassed.

“Searing pain, burning in my eyes,” is how Meieran described to KOIN 6 News what it felt like. “I was blinded, stumbling.”

Someone nearby poured water into her eyes to help clear them, she said.

In a tweet, Meieran said: “Last night I was teargassed by a federal occupying force I SAW throw canisters of poison, without warning, into a nonviolent crowd, including elders, the vulnerable. We can’t wait for Nov to drive secret police from Pdx! Democracy is slipping away in front of our tear-gassed eyes.”

Both Mayor Ted Wheeler and Gov. Kate Brown have demanded the federal troops brought in by President Trump leave because they are escalating the violence. But they don’t have the authority to order them away.

Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty tweeted: “Absolutely unacceptable. Commissioner
@SMeieran, Multnomah County is so lucky to have someone with your bravery, expertise, and tenacity sticking up for our city during these dark times. Thank you.”

Meieran said she was out with the Mom Bloc on Sunday night but with a respirator and goggles. She said she wants to be there “to stand up against this force that feels like it has come in and occupied our city unjustifiably.”

The crowd protesting systemic racism and the presence of federal troops are growing nightly since the federal officers arrived in Portland.

Trump is considering sending 175 federal troops to cities to help local law enforcement with protests, including Portland.

In remarks Monday morning, Trump said, “They were for 51 days ripping down that city, looting it. The level of corruption and what’s going on there’s incredible. And the governor comes, ‘We don’t need any help.’”

Trump said he’s considering sending law enforcement to Chicago and New York for similar reasons.

Tensions on the streets of Portland are growing. Hundreds of people were at the protests this weekend. In the early hours of Monday, several demonstrators lit a fire by the federal courthouse, which led to more tear gas from the federal agents.

Members of the Mom Bloc are identifiable by their yellow shirts. In this photo, they stand as a human barricade at the intersection of SW 3rd and Main near the Justice Center in downtown Portland. July 19, 2020 (KOIN)

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