Wheeler calls on public to help stop 'anarchists'
Mayor Ted Wheeler extended Portland's Emergency Declaration once again on Friday, April 23.
During a Friday afternoon press conference, Wheeler said a small group of self-described anarchists are trying to keep Portland shut down by using illegal destruction in neighborhoods and on businesses. Wheeler called on people to tell the police what they know about "this criminal destruction."
"We must stand together as a community against this ongoing criminal intimidation and violence," Wheeler said.
"I've met with District Attorney, US Attorney, Sheriff and others who all agree they too will take actions to hold law violators accountable. Our job is to unmask them, arrest them and prosecute them."
Wheeler also encouraged community members to call the police if they have license plate numbers or evidence about the people participating in the destruction.
"I want to personally thank neighbors, family and friends who have come forward with vital evidence. People know who these criminals are," he said.
And Wheeler called for higher bail, pre-trial restrictions, and tougher sentences for repeat offenders for those arrested during violent protests. And he asked reporters to stop refering to them as "protesters" but to use "their own description of themselves as anarchists."
According to his office, Mayor Wheeler has extended the order to last through the weekend. The mayor first declared a State of Emergency to open resources moments before the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial was read on Tuesday. Wheeler said Oregon State Police were made available to assist the Portland Police Bureau and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office during the State of Emergencies.
Police arrested two people Tuesday night downtown after a large group of people marched through the streets and smashed windows of businesses — including multiple Starbucks locations.
At its peak, police estimated there were about 150 people who blocked roads in the area of the Hatfield Courthouse in the latest demonstration by anti-police protesters.
Wheeler then extended the State of Emergency for another 24 hours on Wednesday.
"The police are doing everything they can to unmask, identify and hold accountable those who are hell-bent on breaking and burning things. That's why you are seeing more targeted arrests," Mayor Wheeler's office said in a statement on Wednesday.
A few dozen people once again took to the streets of downtown Portland to damage property on Wednesday night.
The same organizers behind Tuesday's mayhem in a small portion of downtown called for more of the same with a "direct action" event starting at Chapman Square Park. About 20 people gathered near the Justice Center and a fire was lit in the intersection of SW 3rd and Main around 8:30 p.m. Firefighters monitored the fire from a distance but it didn't grow. A burn ban is in effect for Multnomah County due to dry weather.
Around 40 people dressed in black were in the area about an hour later, blocking traffic at SW 2nd and Main. Some people in the group spray-painted the walls of the Justice Center and pointed red lasers at the security cameras on the building, police said.
Some flyers have been circulating on social media that promote another direct action event for Friday night.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune.
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.