PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Protests in Portland culminated in people setting fires in the street in the early hours after midnight, though several hours preceding that remained peaceful at demonstrations all over the city in the name of Black Lives Matter.
Friday night, demonstrations continued largely without the presence of police or federal officers. Several hundred people still filled the street on SW 3rd Avenue outside the Justice Center and federal courthouse building.
Portland police said there was no police interaction with the protesters throughout the night and early morning hours. The crowd largely dispersed by 2:30 a.m.
Timeline of Events: Friday, July 31, 2020
Shortly after the first fire was put out, individuals began making a new fire using wood chips and plywood they pried off of a nearby building. By this time the group Moms United for Black Lives Matter, who had put the earlier fire out, and the Wall of Vets group had left the area. People still shared speeches around the fire, though the group was significantly smaller than earlier in the night, dwindling down to about 100 or so. In addition bottles thrown inside the fence could be heard on occasion.
Around 12:30 a.m. people began starting a fire in the street in front of the federal courthouse which started with burning a bible, then an American flag, until more and more items were added. Finally around 1 a.m., yellow clad members of the group Moms United for Black Lives Matter went over to the fire and put it out with bottles of water and stamped it out.
People played the drums in the crowd that occupied SW 3rd Ave outside the federal courthouse building. Some people strung balloons along the fence.
Oregon State Senator Lew Frederick stood at the back of the crowd in Lownsdale Square, observing the demonstrations.
Crowds of people listened quietly as organizers took turns speaking at the front of the Justice Center. They shared their experiences of racism and talked about how people can help be a part of the solution to help Black lives.
Around nine o’clock, groups of protesters began to converge at Salmon Street Springs. From there, people marched to the Justice Center on SW 3rd Avenue.
On Twitter, Portland police put out an advisory that cars were blocking traffic on SW 3rd at Madison. Drivers were told to use alternate routes.
Earlier in the day
Many events were scheduled for Friday evening, according to the website PDX Black Lives Matter Events, which include rallies, art events, and vigils.
A Fighting for a Revolution event was held at Revolution Hall. The event description said it was in honor of Xeryus “Iggy” Tate on the four year anniversary of his death. A Weekly Community Healing event was held at Holladay Park, with an aim to “create a safe space where we can hear each other, promote healing through communal support and use art to process shared trauma at the hands of police violence.”
An art auction was also scheduled at Commons PDX. The event was free and made to celebrate Murphy aka Lab Racks. 100 percent of proceeds went to the Black Resilience Fund.
An event called Firefighters in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter was organized at Portland Firefighters Park. Sign making and shirts were available for donation.
In addition, an event called Unemployed Workers for Black Lives March was put together at Salmon Street Springs downtown, with speeches and a march to the Justice Center.