PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Weekend violence on the streets of downtown Portland followed two different religious gatherings and featured armed protesters from opposing groups clashing.
The fighting on Saturday was limited but things got a bit out of hand Sunday night after a religious concert on the waterfront.
The confrontations began after Christian leader Sean Feucht held a gathering that attracted several hundred people to Waterfront Park. Things heated up soon after social media posts showed videos of what appeared to be security guards at the event.
One of those people was Tusitala Toese, a self-avowed Proud Boys member who recently completed a 6-month jail sentence for violating probation from previous sentences for previous violent protests.
Left-wing protesters arrived at the event and violence erupted when the worship event ended after sunset.
Witnesses told KOIN 6 News there was little to no police presence downtown during the confrontations, which included paintballs and pepper spray.
“I didn’t see a cop until after I received medical attention for being maced and they didnt stop, they didn’t talk to me or ask any questions,” said left-wing activist Jason Britton. “They (the police) didn’t do anything.”
All of this happened less than a block from Gayle Ostling’s restaurant, the Portland Kettle, which has been repeatedly damaged during protests over the past year.
“I’m really surprised the city let it happen,” Ostling said. “I’m really surprised that there wasn’t any kind of police presence.”
This comes in the wake of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s recent announcement that downtown was a safe place to visit.
“My message is this: Portland’s been through a rough spell. There’s still work to do. We’ve turned a corner. So we’re encouraging people to come downtown. We understand there is still work to do, but a lot of work has been done and people are safe if they come to downtown Portland,” Wheeler said July 22.
KOIN 6 News reached out to both the mayor’s office but has not yet heard back.
In a statement to KOIN 6 News, PPB officials said nobody was arrested, “but that does not mean there won’t be charges at some later time in reference to activity last (Sunday) night.”
Lt. Greg Pashley said police contacted one person with an airsoft gun and the investigation into the entire incident remains under investigation.
Ostling is fed up. She wants to see “the people we elected to do something about it to clean up the city.”