PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As simultaneous protests from opposing political viewpoints are planned for Saturday in Portland, city and county officials are making their views known ahead of time.
Organizers for one event at Delta Park announced it would start at noon on Saturday, while another group has planned an event three miles away at Peninsula Park starting at the same time, police said. However, citing crowd estimates that run counter to COVID-19 guidelines, the Portland Parks and Recreation Bureau denied a permit to the Proud Boys for a rally in North Portland on Saturday.
A third demonstration is possibly planned for Waterfront Park.
Governor Kate Brown will hold a 10 a.m. Friday press conference to discuss the plans to keep the peace in Portland on Saturday. KOIN.com will livestream the event.
Mayor Ted Wheeler
In a tweet Thursday morning, Mayor Ted Wheeler said, “We will always support the ability to gather, share ideas and protest — peacefully. But we have no tolerance for intimidation or violence. We are working with a wide variety of partners from around the region to keep our community safe this weekend.”
Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt
The new DA, who has drawn criticism for his decision to drop charges against most of the arrested protesters, said in a statement he is “alarmed and angry” about the riot that erupted Wednesday night.
“I am thankful that no Portland police officers or Portland firefighters were injured after a flaming object was thrown and then exploded just inches away from them. There is no justification for a person to ever throw an incendiary device, to set fire to buildings or to engage in other violent and destructive behavior,” Schmidt said. “I stand against hate and violence. Neither promotes the reform that is being demanded in our community and across the country. My office will always support and defend the right to free speech and the right to peacefully assemble, and we will always condemn violence.
PPB Chief Lovell, Asst Chief Davis
At a Thursday afternoon press conference, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said the bureau is increasing weekend staffing weekend ahead of planned left- and right-wing protests.
“Our plan is to have a visible presence. At the same time it’s going to about what our resources are,” he said Thursday during a press conference about plans for the weekend. “We’ve been working tirelessly the last four to five days. These next few days we will work with our partners and put together a plan.”
Assistant Chief Chris Davis wouldn’t specify the exact number officers that would be on duty, but said that the bureau canceled regular days off and anticipate having a large staff.
City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
While other officials brace for potential dueling protests over the weekend, Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty announced the launch of “Rethink Portland” –– her vision and call-to-action to rethink community safety.
Hardesty made the announcement after participating in an online talk on the history of police reform with guest Reverend Dr. LeRoy Haynes, who reflected on the shooting death of Kendra James in 2003 –– an incident that sparked similar protests over the PPB’s use of force.
“This case created a great cry in all parts of the city of Portland of something like Breonna Taylor, an unnamed Black woman that was killed,” LeRoy said. “Multi-racial once again. Over 5,000 people gathered to march.”
PPA President Daryl Turner
Shortly after the press conference ended, Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner posted a blistering public letter on the PPA Facebook page where he took Mayor Ted Wheeler’s decision to ban the use of CS (tear) gas during demonstrations.
“Banning CS gas from use in the most limited of circumstances—like when Molotov cocktails are thrown or guns fired by demonstrators—is so mind-numbingly reckless that the Governor’s top cop at State Police and our elected County Sheriff won’t help this weekend,” Turner wrote. “…Reckless public policy has real consequences. You’ve had your chance to lead. You’ve failed to do so. I pray that our City is spared from further violence this weekend.”
The Multnomah County Commission
The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners also released a statement Thursday. In part they said:
“…The far right’s rhetoric and intimidation with the flashing of firearms divert attention from the real issues our community is facing: deep-seated institutional racism and sexism, over-policing, and a broken system of criminal justice. Addressing these issues requires us to confront where we fall short, so we can build a better future. That work deserves our full energy and attention, undeterred by those afraid of what it means to live up to those ideals. …”
KOIN 6 News will have more information later.
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