Windows smashed, 'pepper out' at downtown Portland protest
A night of broken glass ruptured the calm of Portland's swanky Pearl District neighborhood Saturday night, Feb. 27, as protesters called for immigration reform and police officers swooped in multiple times, making two arrests.
The demonstration, which was promoted online for days ahead of time, recapitulated many of the themes Portlanders grew familiar with last year, including copious amounts of graffiti and the shattering of windows of banks and a Starbucks cafe, another oft-hit target.
The crowd of perhaps 150 people gathered around 8 p.m. at The Fields Park, 1099 N.W. Overton St., before marching a few blocks along Overton to a boarded-up U.S. Customs and Immigration Services field office that was quickly slathered in a fresh coat of paint.
During the night, protesters also smashed windows of a Starbucks, Perch furniture store — while an Umpqua Bank had the words "banks suck" and a frownie face scrawled on one of the few unbroken panes.
Portland Police responded with officers on bicycles as well as riot gear officers from the bureau's Rapid Response unit.
Portland police say â€œpepper outâ€ were going to start â€œpepper motherâ€”â€”-â€œ pic.twitter.com/TVslssiDFE— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) February 28, 2021
"Pepper out! I think we're going to start peppering some of these motherf---kers," one officer at the lead of a squadron of bike cops said, according to a video documenting the scene by the Tribune.
Later in the night, one bicycle officer collided with independent videographer Mason Lake after the police rapidly turned a corner and approached protesters standing in the middle of the street.
The exact number of arrests made was not readily available. After the crowd dispersed into smaller groups, parties of black-clad people lingered downtown for hours, while some announced plans to regroup at the U.S. Immigration and Customs facility in Southwest Portland.
When an older man witnessing the protests was asked where he lived, he simply pointed at a looming tower a few blocks away. Declining to give his name, he said he was concerned about the falling price of nearby condos.
"I just think it's a shame that the downtown area now — half the stores have plywood," he said. "It's too bad. Portland used to be a great place. I like it, but I'm thinking of moving."
Follow me on Twitter
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.