Open letter from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend, our beautiful 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.
We have the ability to overcome these challenges and reimagine a city and a country that are welcoming, inclusive and prosperous for all. It seems far off right now, but Portlanders are resilient and I am confident that we can do it, together.
Thousands of non-violent demonstrators have marched for racial equity and justice in Portland. Their calls to action have been heard, and already the City is making historic progress. I am proud that the City Council has begun the difficult, necessary work of dismantling institutional racism. We have much more work to do.
I remain deeply concerned, however, by groups who continue to perpetrate violence and vandalism on our streets.
This has been going on for more than a month now.
Violence and vandalism detract from the importance of the larger movement for justice.
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.
I am grateful that no one has died in Portland, but other cities have not been so fortunate.
This weekend, join me in calling for an end to violence so we can begin to rebuild and do the work of police reform this movement demands. I am keenly aware of concerns about police actions related to demonstration activity. Under what circumstances, if any, should tear gas be used? When, specifically, can a gathering be declared unlawful? Who should make those calls? These are all legitimate questions.
I am calling for a full and thorough review of all use of force tactics and meaningful public transparency.
And I am asking 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.
Mayor Ted Wheeler, Portland
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