Night 50: Feds use tear gas, protesters tear down fences

2020 Protests

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Another unlawful assembly was declared in the early hours of Saturday after hundreds of protesters clashed with police in the area around the Justice Center in downtown Portland.

People were arrested, weapons and shields were taken and fencing was dismantled by the protesters over the course of the night. Portland police said they did not use CS gas at all.

Swords and a shield taken from protesters by Portland police in the early hours of July 18, 2020 (PPB)

But tear gas was used earlier in the night by federal officers on protesters outside the Federal Courthouse and the Justice Center around 10 p.m.. It momentarily pushed protesters out of the area, however, the crowd remained downtown.

Portland police officers were telling people to leave the area surrounding Chapman and Lowsdale squares Friday evening around 10 p.m.

Nine arrests

A total of 9 people were arrested during the early hours of Saturday, police said. They ranged in age from 21 to 38 and face a variety of charges: Interfering with a Peace Officer, Assaulting a Public Safety Officer, Obstructing Governmental Administration, Disorderly Conduct, Attempt to Elude by Vehicle, Resisting Arrest.

One person was also charged with Riot.

City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty gave her closing remarks at a candlelight vigil on the steps of the Justice Center moments before police started making the announcement to the crowd.

On Thursday, fencing went up around Chapman Square, Lownsdale Square, and Terry Schrunk Plaza, blocking the parks off to public access. By Friday evening, some of that fencing was taken down by protesters and moved into the street to block the intersection near the Justice Center.

Earlier on Friday, construction crews dismantled the base where the Elk statue previously stood.

Timeline of Events

1:30 a.m. July 18, 2020

After warning the crowd not to barricade the doors of the Justice Center with the dismantled fencing, Portland police declared an unlawful assembly and ordered demonstrators to leave the area.

Few people left and police moved them to the west. “While dispersing the crowd, officers took projectiles such as glass bottles, rocks and broken pieces of metal from fencing,” police said.

Around 2:10 a.m., hundreds of people returned to the area that had just been closed and again police moved them to the west. At this point, police said, several people were arrested and weapons and shields were taken. The group of people “dissipated” over the next few hours.

PPB said they did not use any CS gas.

12 a.m.

A Portland police officer addressed the crowd of protesters:

“This is the Portland Police Bureau. Officers have observed people in the area of the Federal Courthouse on SW 3rd Avenue place fencing and sandbags in front of doors. Anyone who is involved in criminal behavior, including blocking entrances and exits to the Federal Courthouse, are subject to arrest or citation. Participants not involved in criminal behavior are encouraged to leave the area immediately. Criminal conduct may subject you to arrest, citation, or use of force, including, but not limited to riot control agents and impact weapons. Do not obstruct entrances and exits to buildings.”

Commercial-grade aerial fireworks were set off as hundreds of protesters continued to occupy the area near the Justice Center on SW Madison Street.

11 p.m.

A large crowd of protesters has gathered in the intersection between the Justice Center and the Federal Courthouse.

Fencing blocked multiple intersections on Madison, Jefferson and Salmon Streets at 4th and 3rd Avenues.

10 p.m.

Federal officers used tear gas on protesters outside the Federal Courthouse and the Justice Center. It momentarily pushed protesters out of the area, however, the crowd remained downtown. In two main groups, some protesters returned to the Justice Center, while others gathered near the intersection of SW Yamhill and 10th Ave.

All MAX lines, Green, Red, Blue, Yellow/Orange, going through downtown Portland were disrupted due to protest activity in the area.

Shuttle buses were sent out to service the affected lines. Service for the Green Lines will only go between the Rose Quarter and the Clackamas Town Center, according to TriMet Service Alerts.

9 p.m.

There were an estimated 500 people gathered in the downtown area. A fence that had previously surrounded the parks was moved by demonstrators into the street and in front of the Justice Center at the intersection of SW Madison and SW 3rd.

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