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Plus, neighborhood associations are fighting back against proposed civic engagement changes, and MAX station closures could be a campaign issue

PMG FILE PHOTO - A left-wing counter-protester hurls water at conservative reporter and commentator Andy Ngo while he was being assaulted.

The international controversy over Portland police handling of dueling political protests shows no sign of slowing down.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial headlined "Portland's Antifa Impunity," which criticized Mayor Ted Wheeler because no one has been arrested yet for the attack on conservative reporter and commentator Andy Ngo by left-wing counterprotesters — sometimes referred to as anti-fascists, or "Antifa."

The July 29 editorial said the lack of any arrests undermines Wheeler's assertion that Portland is not a lawless city.

The editorial followed a Saturday threat by President Trump to label the anti-fascists a "terrorist movement" because that would make it easier "for police to do their job."

According to CNN, that sparked a backlash in Germany, where #IchBinAntifa — I am Antifa — started trending on Twitter.

"Several users who used the hashtag referenced Germany's history of fascism and anti-fascist resistance during the Nazi period," CNN reported Monday.

Neighborhood associations fight back

Neighborhood activists are organizing to fight proposed changes in Portland's civic engagement process, which would eliminate all references to the city's 95 neighborhood association from the City Code.

A summit on the issue has been organized by Southwest Neighborhoods Inc., the coalition office that supports the neighborhood associations in Southwest Portland. It will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 31, at the Multnomah Arts Center. SWNI President Leslie Hammons has been one of the most outspoken critics of the proposal.

Supporters of the proposal say it is intended to increase citizen involvement in civic affairs. It is unclear when the City Council will consider it. The proposal is still being finalized by the Office of Community and Civic Life at the request of the council.

The council had scheduled a hearing on the proposal for Sept. 3 and then moved it to Oct. 3. But the office now says the hearing date has not been finalized.

MAX station closures a campaign issue?

Among all the other criticisms Mayor Ted Wheeler likely will face when he runs for reelection, he now has to worry about TriMet's controversial closure of the Kings Hill/SW Salmon MAX station next to Providence Park.

The only member of the regional transit agency's board of directors to vote against the closure on July 24 was Ozzie Gonzalez, who filed a political action committee to run for mayor on June 11. Gonzalez lives in the TriMet district that includes the station, and he made it clear he was representing the wishes of his constituents, many of whom oppose the closure intended to speed light-rail travel through downtown.

Gonzalez, 41, is the director of sustainability and diversity for Howard S. Wright, a prominent local construction company. In addition to the TriMet board, he also serves as the vice chair of the Regional Arts & Culture Council and on the boards of the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


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