PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland police say they’re preparing for potential left- and right-wing protests in the city this weekend.
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.
In a statement, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said his department was working with the mayor’s office and other local and regional partners, including TriMet, ahead of Saturday’s events. He also stressed to protesters that authorities are developing a plan “to do everything possible to keep everyone safe.”
“Across our region we have witnessed devastation and loss of life from COVID to wildfires to gun violence. It is up to all of us to make sure we do not have an event where further loss of life results,” Lovell said. “Lawful engagement in First Amendment rights is acceptable; attendance with the intent to harm or intimidate others is not appropriate or safe for anyone.”
The planned events come after a summer of unrest in Portland following the death of George Floyd, whose killing in Minneapolis sparked renewed life into the Black Lives Matter movement. Hundreds have been arrested in connection with the protests, which started May 28.
However, August saw the most violence between left- and right-wing protesters after right-wing protesters clashed with left-wing protesters outside of the Multnomah County Justice Center on Aug. 22 and a shooting following a pro-Trump caravan rally on Aug. 29 left one man, Aaron J. Danielson, dead. The suspect, Michael F. Reinoehl, was shot and killed by authorities in Washington days after the downtown Portland shooting.
Police are also cautioning drivers about impacted roads on Saturday, including Interstate 5, which is already seeing impacts from the northbound I-5 bridge closure. TriMet may also adjust its service in the event an area becomes blocked or unsafe.