Marches, makeshift ‘autonomous zone’ during 20th night

Protests

Portland City Council voted to cut $15M from the Portland Police Bureau budget

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland police declared a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly early Thursday morning, as demonstrators from the 20th night of Portland protests continued to gather in the Pearl District in an effort to set up an “autonomous zone.”

Once the declaration was announced, protesters cleared out the area — but there was still much to clean up. According to the Portland Police Bureau, one arrest was made during this time.

Around midnight, the group started dragging items such as dumpsters, recycling bins, picnic tables and pallets into the street to create a barrier. Speakers declared the area an “autonomous zone.” However, Portland police say the attempt to create an autonomous zone failed.

“I am proud of our PPB officers and command staff who carefully and safely dispersed this unlawful assembly,” said Chief Chuck Lovell. “The actions taken by some to barricade City streets and begin the creation of an autonomous zone caused great concern for public safety. Emergency responders need to be able to respond to critical life safety calls. There are acceptable ways to express first amendment rights and this was beyond the threshold for what is acceptable for Portland.”

For nearly three weeks, hundreds — often thousands — of people have gathered daily in Portland to support the Black Lives Matter movement, demanding racial justice and police reforms.

Wednesday marked the 20th day of protests in Portland. Earlier in the day, the Portland City Council voted 3-1 to cut $15 million from the Portland Police Bureau budget in the next fiscal year.

The PPB budget — about $245 million — is part of the whole city budget of $5.6 billion. The PPB cuts include getting rid of more than 80 police officer positions, mostly vacancies and retirements. Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty worked to win support for getting rid of the Gun Violence Reduction Team, school resource officers, Transit Police and 8 SERT officers.

Those officers will be reassigned within the bureau.

Hundreds of people gathered outside Revolution Hall, then marched across the Hawthorne Bridge and ended at Waterfront Park where they listened to speeches. Some in the group eventually moved into downtown Portland later in the night. A large group marched toward the Pearl District and joined with others in the area of NW Glisan and 9th. They chanted slogans directed at Mayor Ted Wheeler and protested outside of an apartment building they believed to be his residence.

On Tuesday, more than 1,000 people met at Jefferson High School then marched on the southbound lanes of I-405. They occupied the Fremont Bridge for more than an hour to listen to speeches. Later in the night, a separate, smaller group again gathered in downtown Portland. Multiple protesters were hospitalized after a car plowed through a group marching down a downtown street.

Here’s a list of events from Wednesday, June 18, 2020:

5:30 a.m.

Portland police declared a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday morning while about 50 protesters were still gathered in the Pearl District. Northwest 11th Street east to Northwest Park Avenue and Northwest Irving Street south to Northwest Everett Street were closed while police cleared people out and began cleaning up.

All other residents are asked to shelter-in-place for the time being and commuters were encouraged to avoid the area.

PPB said one person was arrested, identified as 27 year-old Hailley Nolan. Nolan was charged with interfering with a police officer and was booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center.

12 a.m.

Protesters have pulled dumpsters, recycling bins, trash cans and other items into the street as a barricade. A speaker announced, “This is our autonomous zone.” Picnic tables have also been added to the barricade. A speaker announced, “Under no circumstances do we leave tonight.”

11:30 p.m.

A man has climbed onto the awning of the building protesters believe to be Mayor Wheeler’s residence and appears to be looking into windows.

10:45 p.m.

The large group from the Justice Center has reached those occupying a block in the Pearl District. Many are chanting expletives aimed at Mayor Wheeler. Some are flashing the buildings with strobe lights and a green laser.

10:15 p.m.

People have moved on from the Justice Center and are walking through the streets of downtown Portland.

Another group of at least 100 are literally camped out in the Pearl District in front of Mayor Ted Wheeler’s reported residence. The group has blocked NW Glisan blocked between 9th and 10th.

9:30 p.m.

While some of those who marched to Waterfront Park from Revolution Hall have already left to go back to the Eastside, a sizable chunk has decided to walk to the Justice Center. This is a departure from the way Tuesday night played out when almost everyone stopped on the Fremont Bridge and eventually turned around and went back east.

Someone has altered the walk signal at SW 3rd and Main to flash “don’t shoot.”

8 p.m.

A few hundred people have reached Waterfront Park and are listening to speeches.

7:30 p.m.

Protesters are making their way down SE Morrison toward 7th and the Hawthorne Bridge.

7 p.m.

The group near Revolution Hall is starting to march toward Portland’s waterfront area. People are chanting “Whose street?” “Our street” and “Stay together” “Stay tight.” People have posted lists of those killed by police on the fence near Revolution Hall for reflection.

6:30 p.m.

A few hundred people are outside Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland for a protest and march. Their route is unclear at this time.

5:45 p.m.

Families have gathered at Rosa Parks Elementary School in North Portland for a kid-friendly rally. They plan to march to Columbia Park Annex where some students will give speeches.

A young protester at the rally told KOIN 6 News he and his friends want to change the world for the better.

“Black lives matter,” said Andre.

Other kids said they’re excited to march and have their voices be heard.

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