PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Police declared a riot and used tear gas after a couple hundred people marched to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in South Portland, vandalized the building and set a bonfire in the street during Night 83 of protests in the city.
The group gathered at Elizabeth Caruthers Park on Wednesday and started marching at 9 p.m. A flyer for the event said “No Cops. No Prisons. Total Abolition.” The photo for the flyer shared on the website Portland Black Lives Matter Events showed several protesters holding “Melt ICE” and “End ICE.”
They stopped outside of the ICE building on South Macadam where they chanted slogans like “Abolish ICE” and “Stolen People, Stolen Land.” Authorities issued warnings for the group to not vandalize the building.
At about 10 p.m., federal officers emerged from the building and a short standoff ensued during which objects were thrown at officers. Officials then rushed the group and fired pepper balls. Portland police arrived and declared an unlawful assembly, cautioning that those who did not leave would risk the receiving end of crowd-control munitions or arrest.
The group splintered and wandered through the neighborhood but many had returned to the area of the ICE building by about 10:30.
The Portland Police Bureau declared a riot shortly before 11 p.m. and warned protesters that tear gas would be used if they didn’t disperse. Protesters later dragged a mattress into the street at South Gaines and Bond and lit it on fire, adding garbage bins, debris and a picnic table form a nearby restaurant to the bonfire. They had returned to the ICE building by midnight where police again reminded them that a riot had been declared and they needed to disperse to the north.
When police dispersed the group, they used tear gas and put out the fire that had been set earlier. The crowd mostly dispersed by 1:30 a.m.
Police said two arrests were made overnight. Both Joshua Buckley, 30, and Mark Putman, 25, were arrested and charged with interfering with a peace officer and second-degree disorderly conduct.
Earlier in the day, a small group of marchers walked along the Burnside Bridge blocking traffic around 4 p.m. A rally at Holladay Park in Northeast Portland was held around that time but it’s unclear if the Burnside Bridge march was connected to it.
Also on Wednesday, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Sheriff Mike Reese addressed the media hours after the damage and vandalism caused to the Multnomah County Building late Tuesday night after rioters threw rocks, broke windows and set fires.
The message from officials was clear: vandalism and violence directed at the Multnomah County Building does nothing but hurt the movement seeking to advance police reform.
Police declared a riot in Southeast Portland after at least 200 people marched to the Multnomah County Building, threw rocks through windows and started a fire inside the office for the 82nd night of protests in the city. After marching from Colonel Summers Park on SE Belmont Street to the county building on SE Hawthorne and Grand, the group started lighting dumpster fires and throwing rocks through the building’s windows.