Riot declared as Federal Courthouse attacked in Portland

2020 Protests

Riot declared around 4 a.m. on the 4th of July

Crews clean up mess left by riot in Downtown Portland July 4, 2020 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — For the 3rd time this week, a riot was declared in downtown Portland when the Hatfield Federal Courthouse was attacked around 4 a.m. on the 4th of July.

The area around the Federal Courthouse remained an active situation for a time, authorities said. But by 6 a.m., the area seemed much more calm with a group of about 15 people dancing.

Crews clean up mess left by riot in Downtown Portland July 4, 2020 (KOIN)

The incidents began when some demonstrators launched commercial grade fireworks from the spot where the Elk Statue was (until it was removed earlier this week after damage from protester-set fires.) Then around 11 p.m. Friday demonstrators from the Justice Center marched to Waterfront Park, then back again 45 minutes later to the area of SW 3rd and Salmon and Madison, police said.

Shortly before 1 a.m., protesters began throwing rocks at the Federal Courthouse and then firing commercial grade fireworks toward the Justice Center, police said. Some people dragged material and barricades and began to make a fence in the area of SW 3rd and Main, authorities said.

Portland police “stayed away from the demonstrators, as there was not an identified life safety risk,” officials said in a release. They said no tear gas was used.

KOIN 6 News will have more information as soon as possible.

Wheeler calls for end to violence

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler on Friday issued a public plea to end the violence that has roiled the city for more than a month. He acknowledged the reasons why the city is on edge: “An escalating global pandemic. The possibility of a deep and prolonged recession. Demands for police accountability and racial justice. People are justifiably angry, hurting and frustrated.”

The calls to action by the “thousands of non-violent demonstrators” have been heard and, he noted, the City Council “has begun the difficult, necessary work of dismantling institutional racism.”

But he said he’s deeply concerned “groups who continue to perpetrate violence and vandalism on our streets.”

Mayor Ted Wheeler stands with organizers at the Promised Land Statue and speaks to protesters in Chapman Square. June 5, 2020 (KOIN)

“Groups continue to target the Justice Center, threatening the safety of hundreds of inmates and employees inside. They continue to hurt small businesses owned by people of color, instill fear in communities of color, and start fires in buildings with people inside, in one specific case, even bolting emergency doors so that they could not escape.

“These attacks undermine public safety in our community, and they harm the very people and businesses we need to be lifting up.”

Wheeler said he is “keenly aware of concerns about police actions related to demonstration activity,” and wants “a full and thorough review of all use of force tactics and meaningful public transparency.”

But he also asked “for the public’s support in calling for an end to the nightly violence. Join us in our call for peace. Lives are at stake.”

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