Rose City Justice call to action: ‘Divest, reinvest, protect’

2020 Protests

Rose City Justice shared a statement of solidarity with the protesters at the Justice Center

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Demonstrations across Portland continued over the weekend into the third week, with a massive peaceful march weaving through the streets of North and Northeast Portland earlier Sunday evening. However, other protesters later gathered outside of the Multnomah County Justice Center in downtown to face law enforcement before an unlawful assembly was declared.

Police declared the protests outside the Justice Center an unlawful assembly and a civil disturbance shortly after 9:30 p.m. Sunday night. Police reported that demonstrators threw things at officers such as glass bottles. People reported climbed through holes in the fence and officers made trespassing arrests.

“As they were leaving the area, someone threw what’s believed to be a commercial-grade firework into the fenced area, which exploded within feet of the officers,” said PPB via Twitter. The firework is what led to the civil disturbance declaration. No one was injured.

Early Monday morning, police reported over a dozen arrests were made over the course of the evening, including one person who went into the enclosed area. They were charged with trespassing. Portland Police say the Justice Center was mostly clear of demonstrators by 1:00 A.M.

Hours before the confrontation at the Justice Center, Rose City Justice organizers changed up their daily protest and march routine on Sunday afternoon. Instead of assembling outside of Revolution Hall, protesters gathered at Jefferson High School in North Portland.

“We were worried that shifting location would really impact the numbers. Looking at you—I can’t see that that changed much,” said one organizer to a crowd of hundreds at the high school.

Organizers said they wanted to kick off the march at Jefferson High School because it sits in a neighborhood that’s experienced gentrification. They also announced on Sunday that Rose City Justice is merging with the Portland Civil Rights Collective—they said they will be organizing in a manner that will allow them to effectively impact change and work on policy. They emphasized community engagement as fundamental to their grassroots movement.

Kensie, co-founder of Portland Civil Rights Collective, speaking at a Rose City Justice rally at Jefferson High School in North Portland ahead of a march to Alberta Park on June 14, 2020 (KOIN)

“This feels like everything I ever wanted, everything I ever prepared for, so thank you for trusting in that,” said Kensie, a co-founder of Portland Civil Rights Collective. “We are merging officially and creating ‘Rose City Justice: A Civil Rights Collective.’ It’s really exciting.”

Tonight, they shared their policy demands with protesters, boiled down into an easy-to-remember acronym: DRIP.

Rose City Justice organizers are calling for a Divestment from the police. More specifically, they are demanding a $50 million divestment from the Portland Police Bureau’s budget, “now and annually.” The “RI” in the acronym stands for reinvestment. Organizers want the money divested from the police bureau to be reinvested “into communities of color that have experienced marginalization, gentrification, economic downturn,” and more. The “P” stands for protection. “If we are going to move forward with a police force, right now the police commissioner is appointed by the mayor—that is wrong. We elect our leaders, we should be able to elect our police commissioner.”

From there, demonstrators marched to Alberta Park. Around 9:30 p.m. the rally disbanded.

Photos: Rose City Justice-led BLM march in N Portland

Before Sunday night’s march commenced, Rose City Justice released a statement of solidarity with the protesters at the Justice Center on their Instagram account. “We have a strong relationship with those who are organizing the protests at the Justice Center and believe that every form of protest is the voice of the unheard.”

Recap on Saturday’s demonstrations

Saturday’s protest at Revolution Hall was peaceful and the march went on as usual until protesters got further into Southeast Portland—then things got a little hairy. Police said when the marchers were near SE 31st and Powell, a motorist got entangled in the march and some people associated with the demonstration broke some of the windows out of the car, punctured the tires, and chased the vehicle as it attempted to leave the area.

Police said they are investigating the indicent and are trying to track down those involved.

The march ended at Cleveland High School where organizers led a peaceful demonstration on the community field.

Downtown outside of the Justice Center, tensions rose Saturday night around 10 p.m. KOIN 6 News reporter Jennifer Dowling witnessed people climbing the fence and cutting holes in it. Shortly after that, some people began climbing into the fenced-in area around the Justice Center and were running laps and gesturing to police before escaping back through a hole.

After several warnings that they could face arrest, police declared an unlawful assembly and civil disturbance and moved in to clear the area outside of the Justice Center and in surrounding city blocks. Police said a trash bin was set on fire near SW 5th and Salmon and around 12:30 a.m. some people started throwing fireworks.

Police said several arrests were made and things ultimately broke up around 2 a.m.

KOIN 6 News will continue to update this story throughout the day.

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