VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Whatever it takes. That’s what Joey Gibson, the leader of the Vancouver-based right-wing group Patriot Prayer, said he’s willing to do in order to recall Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler from office, including coming together with people his group has opposed during a plethora of protests over the last year.
“I’m asking that everyone comes together. I’m sick of the fighting in the streets. I’m done with that,” Gibson said Tuesday at a press conference from Vancouver. “I’m asking that we put our differences to the side and do whatever it takes to get 35,000 votes in order to recall this mayor who is corrupt and a liar and refuses to do what is right, refuses to be a good leader.”
Gibson’s call for a recall of Wheeler comes a day after the mayor announced the draft of a new ordinance aimed at regulating ongoing protests in Portland.
Wheeler’s planned ordinance would issue “reasonable time, place and manner restrictions” that would allow protesters to exercise their constitutional rights but give the police commissioner greater tools to keep the peace and protesters separate, said the city attorney.
The mayor said he has “an urgency” to get this ordinance passed.
“The objective is to reduce street brawls and violence,” Wheeler said. “This is not the way we as Americans resolve our disputes…and it gives us more tools to deal with the protests.”
Gibson and Patriot Prayer have been major players in those ongoing protests, mostly opposing Antifa and other left-wing groups.
On Saturday, Gibson and other protesters rallied in downtown against Wheeler.
Gibson told KOIN 6 News the march was a reaction to Wheeler’s response to a recent protest about the fatal shooting of Patrick Kimmons.
During that protest on October 7, a car that drove through the crowd was damaged when protesters started blocking his path and hitting the car. Police did not intervene but said they were monitoring the demonstration.
Gibson told KOIN 6 News his rally wasn’t about Kimmons’ death, but the police response to protesters getting out of control.
“It’s unfortunate he lost his life, that’s not why we’re here,” Gibson said.
Gibson said the march Saturday was about the “lack of response from the mayor.”
According to the City of Portland, a recall petition requires 15 percent of registered Portland voters — based on the results of the last gubernatorial election, which happened in 2014 — to sign. That number, until it likely changes after the latest gubernatorial election on Nov. 6, is 35,925 signatures. If that number is approved, and a five-day resignation period, allowing the subject of the petition to resign, passes without a resignation, then a recall election would be held within 35 days.
The Mayor’s office did not wish to comment on Gibson’s proposal. Mayor Wheeler, however, did tweet this minutes into Gibson’s press conference: