[guest post by Dana]
I’m sure it’s a relief to neighbors that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced that he will be moving out of his townhome which has lately come under fire from those non-violent protesters we keep hearing about:
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler says he’s looking for a new place to live after his Pearl District condo building has been the site of repeated demonstrations, including on Monday when crowds demanded he resign and some people set fires and broke windows.
In an email Tuesday from Wheeler to other residents of the 16-floor high-rise tower, the mayor said it would be “best for me and for everyone else’s safety and peace” that he finds a new home. He assured people that police are taking their safety concerns seriously and invited them to a Thursday evening meeting that will include himself and officers to voice their concerns.
“I want to express my sincere apologies for the damage to our home and the fear that you are experiencing due to my position,” according to a screenshot of the email sent to The Oregonian/OregonLive. “It’s unfair to all of you who have no role in politics or in my administration.”
Demonstrators have gathered outside Wheeler’s condo building sporadically since mid-June — at least twice when he was not there. On Monday, Wheeler’s 58th birthday, some in a group of more than 200 graffitied and damaged the building and sidewalk and threw a burning bundle of newspapers into retail space in the building.
Police arrested 19 people during the demonstration. Most are accused of disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer; the latter is the most common accusation levied against protesters arrested during demonstrations over the last three months.
Meanwhile, I guess this weak tea was Wheeler’s version of how to end the violence and unify the city:
“These acts range from stupid, to dangerous, to criminal. The violence must stop. None of this should sit well with any thinking Portlander.”
Okay. Sure. If you want to keep on campaigning for Donald Trump, have at it, I guess.
Meanwhile, on the heels of detailing a unified law enforcement plan to protect free speech and end the violence and arson in Portland, Gov. Kate Brown, who has proven to be just a real top-notch manager of the ongoing chaos, has requested various law enforcement agencies in neighboring counties send personnel to Portland to help contain the mess. Unsurprisingly, the collective response was a solid “no,” because Gov. Brown is viewed as reaching for the wrong solution to the problem:
On Monday, both Washington and Clackamas County sheriffs announced they would decline to send their personnel. Tuesday, Gresham Police declined, too.
“While we stand ready to assist our partners in certain emergency situations as is our standard practice, we have no plans at this time to assist with protests or crowd management in Portland,” said Gresham Police Chief Robin Sells.
“Had Governor Brown discussed her plan with my office, I would have told her it’s about changing policy not adding resources,” said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts. “The only way to make Portland safe again, is to support a policy that holds offenders accountable for their destruction and violence.”
“PPB is a terrific partner and I am very sympathetic to what they are enduring. However, the lack of political support for public safety, the uncertain legal landscape, the current volatility combined with intense scrutiny on use of force presents an unacceptable risk if deputies were deployed directly,” said Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett.
Two other agencies also responded to the request:
A spokesperson for Hillsboro Police said, “The Hillsboro Police Department has not been asked to provide resources or personnel to the Portland Police Bureau. We value and appreciate our relationship with this organization. However, our primary focus is serving our community members in the City of Hillsboro, and we would likely decline this request if put to us.”
A Vancouver police spokesperson said “the danger to our personnel, the associated liability combined with the apparent lack of legal consequence for people being arrested on a nightly basis make it impractical for us to send any of our personnel to Portland at this time to assist with protests or crowd management.”
Is this really any surprise? How could Brown *not* expect this response? While it’s certainly not a good situation, it’s clear to even me that a lack of personnel isn’t the real problem here.
In light of these exhausting months of protests and riots, this Portland seems quaint and like it was a hundred years ago: