Riot declared, National Guard activated in Portland
A riot was declared in downtown Portland and the National Guard was activated Wednesday evening in response to protest violence.
At least 11 people were arrrested and multiple businesses were vandalized overnight. Among those arrested was a man accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at officers. He was wearing a tactical vest and had a loaded rifle with additional magazines, an improved explosive device, a knife and cans of spray paint
Law enforcement authorities said they had also seized additional weapons, commercial-grade fireworks and hammers throughout the night.
The Portland Business Alliance deplored the damage to the smalk buisnesses downtown.
"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," said PBA President President & CEO Andrew Hoan. "I hope every elected official will react and denounce this reprehensible behavior, just as vehemently as when our beloved Oregon Historical Society was attacked."
Two groups of protesters converged in downtown Portland Wednesday evening, with one group going to Waterfront Park and the other blocking the Morrison Bridge before smashing windows along West Burnside.
That brought the response from the Unified Command of the Oregon State Police, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and Portland Police Bureau. It was created by an executive order from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to prevent protest violence.
Before that, nearly 1,000 people marched from Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland into downtown Wednesday evening.
The protest was part of multiple demonstrations in the Portland metro region as the results of the 2020 presidential election remain uncertain. The marchers were very diverse and chanted, "This is what community looks like."
Many "Count Every Vote"-themed signs were spotted, and 'Count Every Vote' was projected on a tent set up at Waterfront Park at the Saturday Market location.
Around 5:30 p.m., a group of demonstrators blocked the Morrison Bridge in both directions, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office said. They urged motorists to avoid the area.
Two separate groups filled the area, one on either side of Naito Parkway.
"We support your right to freedom of speech, please do not engage in criminal activity. If you engage in criminal activity you will be subject to citation or arrest. You also will be subject to use of force to include crowd control munitions or tear gas," they tweeted. They also told the group to "not damage property" near Skidmore Fountain.
"We're monitoring two main groups in Downtown Portland. One group left Revolution Hall. We appreciate their efforts in managing their event safely. Another group that started in the North Park Blocks, has been observed smashing windows and vandalizing property," Unified Command tweeted.
Beginning at 2 p.m near the North Park Blocks in Portland, the Pacific Northwest Community Action Network kicked off their "Week of Action." The group held a rally then began marching around 5 p.m.
"We must become organized and send a clear message that we will not tolerate voter disenfranchisement or election theft, nor will we tolerate a two-party system that serves only the wealthy, and are instead committed to building a truly just and equitable society," the PNCA website states.
At 3 p.m., the Defund Democracy Coalition planned a rally in coordination with J.U.I.C.E. PDX at Revolution Hall, followed by a march set for 4 p.m and a move to the waterfront at 5 p.m.
The Defend Democracy Coalition consists of over 50 community organizations from around the area that all work together for electoral and racial justice.
Out at the Beaverton Library, yet another gathering dubbed the "Protect the Results Rally" began at 5 p.m. This rally's purpose is to demand that every vote be counted in the presidential election and that the results be honored.
There are other "Protect the Results" rallies in the area at the same time, in Hillsboro and Vancouver.
This event is organized by several community groups, including Indivisible, March for Truth, MoveOn, the Sierra Club, and Faith in Public Life. Grassroots activists also have a hand in coordinating.
Tuesday night, demonstrators gathered at Revolution Hall and marched through the streets of Portland in what was termed a "West Coast Solidarity" event.
The crowd was several hundred strong at one point and returned to Revolution Hall around 10 p.m. KOIN 6 News witnessed some graffiti during the march, as well as an argument between demonstrators and two people who were standing outside a home, but police did not interact with the march and thanked the participants for "maintaining a peaceful event."
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their story can be found here.
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