Vernonia teen accused of causing $46k in damage in Portland riot
A teenager from Columbia County is facing numerous charges after police say he caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage during a riot on New Year's Eve in downtown Portland.
The vandalism spree began after a group gathered in downtown Portland near the police headquarters, marched through the streets, broke windows, graffitied buildings and shot off fireworks. Several small fires were also set.
Police arrested three people that night, including a 15-year-old boy from Vernonia, who was initially held on a warrant for sexual assault.
A spokesperson for the Portland Police Bureau announced Thursday that charges of burglary, criminal mischief, and riot had been referred to the Columbia County District Attorney's Office since that is the suspect's county of residence.
PPB said the juvenile smashed and damaged numerous doors and windows, including using a sledgehammer to the metal front doors of Central Precinct. The juvenile was responsible for more than $46,000 in damage that night, police said.
Surveillance video from several locations allegedly showed the suspect committing acts of vandalism.
On Tuesday, PPB worked with the Columbia County DA's Office and Longview Police to serve a search warrant for the teen's clothes which had been worn during the incident. The suspect was detained at a juvenile detention center.
Daniel Wuanti, 20, and Joshua Steele, 23, were also arrested in connection with the riot that night. Wuanti faces charges of interfering with a peace officer, disorderly conduct and fleeing from an officer, according to court records. Steele, who court records show was arrested five times between Dec. 28, 2020 and Jan. 10, 2021, is not currently being prosecuted.
The violence and destruction on New Year's Eve prompted harsh words and a three-part commitment from Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Last week he met with leaders of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to "collaborate on new and more effective ways to combat ongoing criminal destruction," according to a spokesperson. However, no concrete changes have been announced or implemented so far.
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