Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty denies that riots have been regularly breaking out during more than 100 days of political protests in Portland.
Answering questions from reporters on Wednesday, Oct. 7, Hardesty said only one riot took place in downtown Portland on May 28, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Despite extensive media coverage of protesters trying to set fire to court, law enforcement and police union buildings throughout the city, Hardesty said the rest of the violence was caused by the police.
"I won't buy into that narrative," Hardesty said of the riot characterization. "People are standing up because they've had enough."
Hardesty admitted some criminal activity had taken place during the protests, however.
Most Oregon voters disagree with Hardesty, according to an early September poll by DHM Research. It found that 55% of voters believe that "riot" is a more accurate description than "protest" of the ongoing demonstrations in Portland, compared to 37% who disagree.
The poll also found that only 29% of Oregon voters feel the Portland police have used too much force.
Hardesty made her comments during a press briefing on Rethink Portland, a public involvement initiative she has launched to propose reforms to the Portland Police Bureau budget during the fall budget adjustment process that concludes with an Oct. 28 City Council hearing.
Hardesty spoke on the issue the same day Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced his office has launched an only "dashboard" of the charges filed against people arrested during the protests. It shows the majority of the charges have been dropped against those arrested.
A Portland Tribune story on the rest of Hardesty's briefing can be found here..
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