PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Neighbors and businesses in a Northwest Portland neighborhood were left cleaning up the damage caused by rioters Monday night.
Upwards of 200 people gathered outside the presumed home of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in Northwest Portland’s Pearl District for the 95th consecutive night of protests in the city. They dragged items into the street and lit them on fire. Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said people in the crowd broke into an apartment building and lit a fire inside. Police moved in around 11 p.m. and declared a riot but the crowd didn’t disperse for another few hours.
Morning cast a grim light over the mess left behind. Trash, fire damage and shattered windows greeted residents and business owners. Rioters also broke into Pearl District Dental overnight and lit a fire inside, forcing the office to close its doors Tuesday and reschedule patients to allow time for cleanup.
The office manager told KOIN 6 News he found pictures pulled off the walls, computers knocked to the ground and evidence of multiple fires lit inside the office. There are people living above the clinic who could have found themselves in serious danger if any of those fires had taken off.
Those who live and work in the area say the destruction is more than upsetting.
“It’s really hurtful, to be honest with you, because it’s hard not to take it personally and there’s so many wonderful people that work here — everybody’s integrity-driven and diversity-driven,” said Laura Amos with Pearl District Dental. “So to see something like that and to see hate — like there was a big hate poster on the floor — it just made no sense to be really honest with you.”
“It’s just a feeling of distress and sadness. There’s a lot of sadness,” said Stan Penkin, the president of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association. Penkin said many residents no longer feel as safe as they once did and many businesses that were planning to start removing barricades are now afraid to do so.
Pearl District Dental planned to reopen Wednesday. It estimated the damages to cost less than $30,000.
Nineteen people were arrested overnight but only five are charged with crimes the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office plans to actually prosecute. Most of those arrested won’t face any consequences — a fact many neighbors say needs to change before the destruction will end.
Wheeler posted the following statement on Facebook Tuesday evening:
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community.
This is what we’re all supposed to be fighting for. But last night saw more senseless violence in Portland. Another minority-owned, local business was destroyed by a violent group of individuals. A police officer was filmed repeatedly striking an individual at a protest. Even the building where I live, along with dozens of other families, was violently attacked.
These acts range from stupid, to dangerous, to criminal. The violence must stop. None of this should sit well with any thinking Portlander.
Arson and terrorizing families with children does nothing except steal, and distract from, the important message of the racial justice movement. Organizations in the community who encouraged or condoned these actions are complicit. Elected leaders – or those seeking office – who remain silent in the midst of these acts of violence and criminal destruction are equally complicit. The community must rise up and say “enough is enough” and hold all of us accountable. We cannot truly move on together and make the positive changes we want to see until this violence is stopped. All violence.
We cannot allow our anger to destroy what we are trying to support.
I was elected by you to do this job, so I’m going to do it. I stand by our positive movement for police reform and I stand by the hundreds of thousands of Portlanders who want to peacefully protest and ask for more reform.
I call on my colleagues and all Portlanders to join me in denouncing violence and to actively oppose it by finding positive ways to let your voices be heard and to bring about the changes you want to see.
We join the many activists who call for the continued peaceful protests. I will work with you to use every tool to move toward the systemic changes needed at every level of government. Either you are with centering the heavy work of dismantling institutional racism or you are not. These acts of violence distract us. And they must stop.
As Mayor, I will always fight for your Constitutional rights, no matter your politics. I will always fight for your ability to disagree with my actions, police actions, and the actions of your neighbors. What I will not stand for is endangering the lives of your fellow Portlanders. That is unacceptable to me and it is unacceptable to our community.
If you are participating in violence, I want to be clear: I denounce your actions. State and local law enforcement is working together to hold you accountable. Your actions demonstrate a level of hate and destruction that we WILL NOT condone or tolerate.
But this isn’t just about what you should not do. This must also be about what we need you to do. Vote. Read my 19 Point Plan on Police Reform and provide feedback to my office. Contact your elected officials at every level of government. Support the work of the POC Caucus in the Oregon Legislature. There are many opportunities to get to work, both through government and through the community organizations that are doing incredible work on behalf of Portlanders and pushing us all to do better. Together.”