PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Days after promising a tougher and quicker response to violent protests in Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler is still trying to get state, local and federal law enforcement together for a meeting to work out a mutual aid agreement to handle demonstrations quicker.
Tuesday night, 4 arrests were made after a hostile group of up to 100 people gathered near the PPB North Precinct, set dumpsters on fire, threw water bottles and blocked streets in what they said was solidarity with Kenosha, Wisconsin over the Jacob Blake decision.
The protesters blocked off MLK at Killingsworth, set two dumpsters on fire, threw water bottles at police and screamed epithets at the law enforcement officials throughout the night. At least one person deployed spikes which damaged police vehicle tires while several people destroyed security cameras at the precinct, attempted to pull down a fence and ripped electrical wires from walls. Police say some individuals spray-painted graffiti onto private and public buildings in the area as well.
The protest began around 9 p.m. Around 11:15 p.m., PPB patrol cars with lights and sirens blaring scattered the remaining protesters pretty effectively. No CS gas or other munitions were used by police.
“When crimes begin to be committed, people start damaging property, spray painting buildings, we have to weigh the public interest, the government interest, with the resources we have on hand to deal with this,” said PPB Lt. Greg Pashley.
Wheeler has met with Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt, who hasn’t prosecuted most of the protest cases that don’t involve property damage or theft.
But no new agreements have yet been reached. The concern grows with possible violence in the streets on Inauguration Day, January 20 — and the insurrection taking place in Washington DC at this moment.
“While I am not anticipating any unrest in Portland I have gotten questions,” Wheeler said. “I have been in direct contact with the chief of police and others we are disturbed by the situation in nation’s capitol and planning on contingencies to do what we can to protect everyone in our community.”