Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon said he would authorize ending the city’s autonomous zone by “all lawful means” despite his continued prohibition on the use of non-lethal munitions by police.
The occupation, which has been dubbed Red House on Mississippi, claims to be an “active eviction blockade on Indigenous land” and “not an autonomous zone” for the purpose of protecting tenants within the city, according to tweets from the group. The group has erected walls lined with the phrases “Fuck 12,” “No cops” and “LAND BACK,” local reporter Zane Sparling tweeted.
Here are the barricades along Skidmore at the Red House zone in Portland pic.twitter.com/JfaNau3GkS
— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) December 9, 2020
“I am authorizing the Portland Police to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation on North Mississippi Avenue and to hold those violating our community’s laws accountable,” Wheeler wrote. “There will be no autonomous zone in Portland.”
“It’s time for the encampment and occupation to end,” the mayor continued. “There are many ways to protest and work toward needed reform. Illegally occupying private property, openly carrying weapons, threatening and intimidating people are not among them.”
Wheeler, who recently won reelection, banned the use of CS gas, better known as tear gas, on rioters within Portland in September because he sought “a safer alternative,” according to a press release.
The Democrat’s office told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an email that Wheeler’s prohibition still stands when he references “all lawful means” to end the encampment.
At the time of the non-lethal munition ban, Wheeler’s city had experienced 100 days of both protests and riots following the death of George Floyd in May, according to The Oregonian. In July, federal agents were dispatched to a prominent courthouse within Portland after violent demonstrators repeatedly attacked it, according to a press release from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“According to court documents, since May 26, 2020, protests in downtown Portland have been followed by nightly criminal activity including assaults on law enforcement officers, destruction of property, looting, arson, and vandalism,” ICE wrote.
In late August, Wheeler rejected President Donald Trump’s bid to send more federal agents to quell the nightly violence due to the president’s “politics of division and demagoguery,” according to a release. (RELATED: Report: DOJ Considered Bringing Charges Against Local Portland Officials Over Handling Of Riots)
“I have no confidence that the city will stop the rioting and looting and protect the safety and livelihoods of Portlanders,” Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner told OPB in early July.
“I have no confidence that the City Council will guide the Portland Police Bureau forward into a new era of policing that prioritizes safety, equity, reform and police funding. I have no confidence that City Council respects and supports its rank-and-file officers.”
The Democrat’s office told the DCNF that Wheeler “has consistent (sic) condemned violence and criminal activity of all kinds.”
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