PORTLAND, Ore. – Leaders and elected officials in Portland, Oregon, came together Monday to demand an end to violence, criminal destruction and intimidation by “anarchists” as destructive protests continue in the city.
For nearly nine months protesters have called for police reform and an end to systemic racism in Portland, which has become a key city in the country's racial reckoning. While officials say many events have been peaceful, there continues to be small groups smashing windows of businesses, threatening community members and assaulting police.
“The community is sick and tired of people engaging in criminal destruction and violence and doing it under the guise of some noble cause," Mayor Ted Wheeler said during a news conference.
Images of the city spread across the country during the summer — photos of people grieving the death of George Floyd, thousands of people laying down on a city bridge with their hands on their back, and people carrying “Black Lives Matter” signs.
Other photos showed officers emerging from clouds of tear gas, dozens of people dressed in all black and throwing fireworks at officers and rows of businesses with plywood covering windows.
In the background of many of the images is the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, where federal officers had been stationed. Last week, fencing around the building was removed only to be reinstalled Sunday after multiple protests and vandalism in and around the building.
“The people who work here support the voices of racial and social justice and will not be intimidated from doing our jobs by the ugly graffiti or broken windows,” said Scott Erik Asphaug, U.S. attorney for the District of Oregon. “We do not confuse the voices of the many with the shouts of the few who hope to hold our city hostage by petty crime and violence.”
The Oregonian/OregonLive reported the Department of Justice has paid more than $1.5 million to repair damage to the courthouse.