Juneteenth: Peace by day, unrest by night in Portland metro

2020 Protests

Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States didn’t pass by unnoticed this year in the Portland metro: hundreds of people joined rallies, a march shut down I-5 and police declared a late-night crowd downtown an “unlawful assembly.”

Multiple arrests were made beginning in the late hours of Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning including a man and woman accused of shattering several windows of the Justice Center.

Authorities said people threw projectiles, used slingshots and breached the fence surrounding the Justice Center.

“Individuals used a slingshot to launch metal ball bearings in the direction of law enforcement personnel standing behind windows,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a report issued early Saturday. “The bearings shattered multiple windows and put deputies in danger. Individuals continued to shake the fence and throw projectiles, such as eggs, cans and bottles.”

But most of the 22nd day of protests was dominated by peaceful rallies and marches to celebrate Juneteenth. A group of about 350 people marched from Esther Short Park in Vancouver to the southbound lanes of I-5. They walked to the Interstate Bridge where they stopped to listen to speeches. Organizers called on others to use their power to vote to make changes. The group turned around after about an hour and marched back the way they came.

Hundreds of people again gathered near Revolution Hall for a celebratory event complete with music and concert-style lights in honor of Juneteenth.

Elsewhere in Portland, Black cyclists were called to join in a Black Liberation Bike Ride, which started at Irving Park. And a Juneteenth Jamboree was held in North Portland’s McCoy Park.

Here’s a breakdown of what happened on June 19, 2020:

12:30 a.m.

Though the protesters left the area for a while, they have returned to the Justice Center. At least one person has been arrested.

11:25 p.m.

Officers in riot gear have arrived at Terry Schrunk Plaza near the Justice Center and are herding protesters away from the area.

Police, over a megaphone, told protesters to “disperse to the west past SW 6th Avenue.” They say failure to comply could result in arrest and use of force or crowd-control munitions.

The group has moved to SW 6th and Main. But police have told them to disperse.

11:15 p.m.

It sounds like pepper balls are being fired from the Justice Center and people have set off fireworks in response. Police have warned that tampering with the fence could incur “crowd control munitions.” Authorities have declared the crowd an unlawful assembly and have ordered them to disperse to the west.

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said some people have thrown multiple objects and launched items from slingshots. Deputies said at least one person rushed and breached the fence.

10:10 p.m.

It appears most of the protesters who started to cross the Morrison Bridge have turned back. There is a large crowd at the Justice Center.

There are still many people at Revolution Hall. A DJ is playing music and many people are dancing.

9:50 p.m.

Protesters are starting to walk from downtown Portland onto the Morrison Bridge. They seem to largely be undecided about which direction to go.

9:30 p.m.

A crowd is forming outside of the Justice Center in downtown Portland. Protesters have gathered there every night for the past 22 nights.

8:30 p.m.

A few hundred people have gathered near Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland for a Juneteenth celebration hosted by Rose City Justice.

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