Officials denounce Portland protest violence
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt denounced the vandalism of downtown buildings Wednesday night, Nov. 4, during a riot that prompted the National Guard to be activated.
Brown's statement decried the individuals who "shattered the windows of a church that feeds Oregonians in need, a women-owned and operated business that raises money for immigrant and women's rights and many other storefronts."
"Indiscriminate destruction solves nothing," she said. "These are acts of privilege."
"These are Oregonians like you and me, who have volunteered their time and taken leave from their jobs and their families to keep the streets of Portland safe," Brown said. "For weeks, Oregonians have called for an end to the violence. I will continue to do everything in my power to keep the peace in Portland and make sure that people can make their voices heard safely."
Schmidt, who has been criticized for not prosecuting arrested protesters for minor offenses, released the following statement:
"When we stand up against injustice in our community, we do so with an unwavering expectation that our businesses and critical service providers will not be targeted with property damage and that people can gather without fear of physical violence.
"What we saw last night — the destruction of property at multiple businesses including at a female-founded and women-run local clothing store, at a church that provides healing and shelter, clothing, food and assistance to homeless individuals and people overcoming substance abuse and addiction and at a hotel that is committed to the revitalization of Old Town Chinatown — is unacceptable and criminal.
"My office rejects all forms of violence and property destruction. We are fully committed to prosecuting those individuals who engage in this conduct. We will work in partnership with law enforcement to develop cases by identifying suspects and evidence that can be used in court to ensure accountability for criminal acts occurring in our community.
"We will always support those who participate in demonstrations absent of behavior that promotes and inflicts harm because such conduct diminishes our shared objectives of creating a stronger, healthier and more equitable community."
Brown said she activated the National Guard at the request of the Unified Command she created to prevent protest violence. Members of the National Guard assisted with crowd management and performed highly visible patrols around downtown.
Many Portland businesses are still open, despite damage caused during ongoing political protests, including one that was declared a riot Wednesday night, the Portland Business Alliance said.
Andrew Hoan, President & CEO of the Greater Portland Chamber of Commerce, denounced the violence that prompted Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to activate the National Guard to help restore peace. He urged people to come downtown and support the businesses that are still open but struggling to survive because of the recession caused by the pandemic.
"I find it beyond comprehension that anyone would continue to think that the destruction of our small businesses in downtown Portland is somehow acceptable or represents the exercise of free speech. These destructive acts of political violence must stop now. I hope every elected official will react and denounce this reprehensible behavior, just as vehemently as when our beloved Oregon Historical Society was attacked," Hoan said in a press release Thursday morning, Nov. 5.
According to the PBA, after several small businesses, retailers, restaurant and places of worship and service had their windows broken Wednesday night, other people helped them put the boards back up on the windows and secure their spaces. Also helping were members of the Downtown Retail Council, Downtown Portland Clean & Safe and others are responding to requests to help those in need.
"We encourage all Portlanders to pour a little love back into the heart of the Rose City by supporting and shopping at a local small business. Call in advance as hours may change," the PBA said.
A list of businesses that are still open can be found here.
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