PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More than a dozen people were arrested and a crowd barricaded a road as police and protesters clashed Tuesday outside the “Red House” on Mississippi Avenue in North Portland.
Early Tuesday evening, Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was authorizing police to use “all lawful means to end the illegal occupation on North Mississippi Avenue” and said there would be “no autonomous zone” in Portland. (Read his full statement below.)
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said deputies arrived at the house on the 4400 block of Mississippi Avenue, which has seen demonstrations against gentrification since the late summer, around 5 a.m. on Tuesday to “re-secure” the home. The Black family that had lived at the home, the Kinney family, were first served an eviction notice in September, according to the sheriff’s office.
They were served a second time on Tuesday, the same day deputies said they arrested two people who were hiding inside. The sheriff’s office said two guns were also found in the house, along with two sets of body armor and vests, and what appeared to be a Molotov cocktail in the backyard.
During the 5 a.m. incident, at least seven people were arrested, mainly on second-degree trespassing charges. By 1 p.m., Portland police, which had responded to the scene to assist Multnomah County deputies and allow the house to be re-boarded-up, said they had used pepper spray at least once, arrested six more people and reported rocks and paint-filled balloons thrown at officers as they tried to disperse the protesters.
Protesters broke police vehicle windows and popped the tires of two police vehicles, according to officials. Officers said that after they pulled back, the crowd stockpiled rocks and used fencing to block North Mississippi Avenue.
The other 6 arrested are: Malik Farrakhan, 26; Benjamin Einhorn, 32; Coral Cloutman, 31; Stephen Wiens, 24; Marshall Piotcowski, 23; and Alicxandra Blake Lucero, 26. They are all charged with interfering with a police officer and 3 of them also face disorderly conduct. Lucero also faces a trespass charge and Farrakan faces resisting arrest.
North Mississippi remained blocked into Tuesday night as protesters barricaded the street. Protesters told KOIN 6 News off camera there were still people in the home and they were protesting Tuesday morning’s arrests in addition to the eviction order.
Portland police said they are monitoring the situation, and tweeted in the afternoon, “People need to remove the barricades to allow the normal flow of traffic and for residents nearby to be allowed to come and go. Continued criminal activity may result in arrests including the potential use of force.”
The house in question does not fall under the emergency eviction moratorium active in Oregon through the end of December because the moratoriums “do not apply to evictions based on post-nonjudicial foreclosures,” according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
The Kinney family and their supporters say the eviction is illegal. The family is seeking to raise $250,000 on GoFundMe.
Dispatcher data from the past three months shows police have had more than 80 calls about the alleged trespassers, including gunfire, burglary, thefts, vandalism, threats and other disturbances.
‘There will be no autonomous zone in Portland’
Mayor Ted Wheeler shared this statement with KOIN 6 News:
“I am authorizing the Portland Police to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation on North Mississippi Avenue and to hold those violating our community’s laws accountable. There will be no autonomous zone in Portland.
“We all agree many of our nation’s systems and structures are fundamentally racist and require significant reform. There’s a housing crisis, a health care crisis, an education crisis, an employment crisis, a mental health crisis, and an addiction crisis. All of these crises are magnified in urban areas, including Portland. And, these crises disproportionately impact Black people.
“It’s also true that illegal trespassing, ignoring lawful orders from police, blocking sidewalks and streets, and intimidating neighbors inflame these crises and make them more difficult to solve. That is what’s happening on North Mississippi Avenue right now.
“There was a lengthy, thorough judicial proceeding resulting in a lawful judge’s order to evict people illegally occupying a home. Multnomah County chose the time, place and manner of the eviction and Portland Police provided support.
“It’s time for the encampment and occupation to end. There are many ways to protest and work toward needed reform. Illegally occupying private property, openly carrying weapons, threatening and intimidating people are not among them.”