Portland to feds: Your courthouse fence blocks bike lane

2020 Protests

PBOT issued cease-and-desist to US General Services Administration

A re-inforced fence was put up surrounding the Hatfield Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland, July 23, 2020 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Citing interference with “one of the busiest bike routes in the United States,” the Portland Bureau of Transportation issued a cease-and-desist order to the federal government to remove the metal fence and concrete barriers around the Hatfield Federal Courthouse.

On Thursday, the Portland City Attorney’s Office said blocking the bike lane and parts of the right-of-way violate city codes.

The cease-and-desist order, sent to the US General Services Administration, suggests there may be fines, legal actions and other remedies if the fence is not removed.

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who oversees the transportation bureau, said, “This fence was constructed without permission or permits on public property, and it is both an abuse of public space and a threat to the traveling public. This illegal action will not be tolerated in our community.”

She added it was “shameful that unnamed, unannounced federal agents would illegally erect a wall to hide from the people they are sworn to serve, and I have instructed PBOT to closely monitor the federal occupiers’ actions for additional violations.”

A protester looks through the fence surrounding the Hatfield Federal Courthouse in downtown Portland, July 24, 2020 (KOIN)

PBOT Director Chris Warner said the fencing around the federal courthouse seems to partially obstruct travel lanes.

“We maintain our bike lanes every day, and we will defend them as needed,” Warner said.

Upwards of 2,000 people gathered in the area of the Multnomah County Justice Center and the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse on SW 3rd Avenue on Thursday, which was the 56th consecutive night of protests in the city. KOIN 6 News saw sporadic fireworks launched outside of the courthouse and a few fires lit just past the reinforced fence.

Police say some protesters brought tools and worked to disassemble the fence. Multiple times in the night, some protesters breached the fence and prompted federal officers to come out and disperse the crowd. Federal officers were hit with various projectiles as they used tear gas and other crowd control munitions against the crowd.

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