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Vandalism in and around Portland State University tests the Oregon governor's plan to keep protests peaceful this week.

COURTESTY MCSO - Danage to a Starbucks on Monday night.Hours after Oregon Gov. Kate Brown placed the Portland Police Bureau under a unified command to maintain peaceful political protests this election week, law enforcement officials declared an unlawful assembly and arrested two demonstrators.

The declaration and arrests followed vandalism caused by some in a crowd in and around Portland State University on Monday evening, the night before the Nov. 3 general election. Several PSU buildings and area businesses were damaged.

PSU President Stephen Percy denounced the violence the next day

"We will clean up from last night's incident and move forward. While damage to property can be repaired, my larger concern is the damage done to our community. This kind of vandalism impedes our important work in educating students, conducting research and supporting student life. We deplore the impact of these actions on our community," Percy said in a Tuesday statement.

"Our commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression is a hallmark of campus life. PSU will always defend free speech and the right to peaceful protest, but our students deserve a learning environment free of violence and vandalism. Close to 900 students live on our campus and hundreds more students, faculty and staff come to campus daily. We are committed to their safety and the health and well-being of our entire campus," he continued.

According to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, individuals gathered at Director Park, 815 S.W. Park Ave., on the evening of Monday, Nov. 2. At about 8:45 p.m., the group of about 100 began to march in the direction of PSU.

Fifteen minutes later, the group arrived at the PSU Public Safety Office. Some individuals in the group began breaking windows and entered the reception area. As the group moved west, individuals smashed windows at PSU's Cramer Hall, Smith Memorial Student Union, and the Science Research and Training Center.

The group continued moving west on Southwest Montgomery Street. Individuals focused on the Starbucks located in the ground floor of an apartment building on Montgomery. People broke windows and entered the business.

At about 9:15 p.m., the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Portland Police Bureau and Oregon State Police operating under a unified command structure declared the gathering an unlawful assembly due to criminal activity occurring and ordered individuals to disperse.

The sheriff's office said that, during the response, officers interrupted a possible arson attempt. Officers found a flammable liquid spread throughout the inside of the business. Officers dispersed individuals and performed high visibility patrols for the next hour. Individuals eventually dispersed.

Two arrests were made. Among the items seized from those arrested was a tire iron, dumbbell, body armor, gas masks and umbrella among other miscellaneous items.

A previous story about Brown's Unified Command order can be found here.


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