It Took Six Months of Rioting for Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to Escalate Law Enforcement Efforts Against Antifa
It took six months of rioting and millions of dollars in property damage for Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler to order increase law enforcement action against Antifa.
Several businesses were damaged during riots on New Year’s Eve including two Starbucks shops, a Chase Bank, a Pandora Jewelers, a Ben Bridge Jewelers, and multiple local businesses, such as the Portland Wine Company and an office space, according to the Portland Police Bureau. The riots led to three arrests.
“My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists,” Wheeler said in a subsequent press conference. “In response, it will be necessary to use additional tools and to push the limits of the tools we already have to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end.”
This is what DHS law enforcement encountered in Portland. We knew from the onset what we were up against. Glad the mayor is finally acknowledging the Antifa and violent opportunist threat for what it is. https://t.co/gpYhBMOooP
— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) January 2, 2021
But the Thursday incident was just the latest destructive event in Portland.
From May 29, 2020 through Nov. 15, 2020, 30 riots were declared across the city resulting in 960 arrests, according to the City of Portland, Oregon. At least 58 instances of vandalism were reported and around 62 fires were set in association with the recorded protests and riots.
“I find it beyond comprehension that anyone would continue to think that the destruction of our small businesses in downtown Portland is somehow acceptable or represents the exercise of free speech. These destructive acts of political violence, must stop now,” PBA President & CEO Andrew Hoan said in a statement.
“I hope every elected official will react and denounce this reprehensible behavior, just as vehemently as when our beloved Oregon Historical Society was attacked,” Hoan added.
Elected officials and community leaders condemned the acts of violence that accompanied protests in downtown, the PBA announced on Sept. 4.
“The violence must stop,” Democratic Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement released Sept. 3. “There is no place for white supremacy or vigilantism in Oregon. All who perpetrate violent crimes must be held equally accountable.”
Brown’s statement was signed by Wheeler and several other politicians, including 19 Portland businesses, and community leaders.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) January 1, 2021
Downtown Portland lost $18 million in revenue and faced $4 million in property damage during just the first month of rioting, according to a survey conducted by the PBA, KGW8 reported.
“I assume there’s $100,000 worth of physical damage, but also nearly $300,000 in property damage,” Watchworks Inc. President Alex Hofberg said, KGW8 reported. He said that windows and showcases were broken by looters who stole watches and jewelry.
Persian art was stolen from the family-owned Persian House Restaurant, Sara Houranpay told KGW8. She added that the restaurant might be able to reopen in July because of a GoFundMe campaign that was started for the business.
“Oftentimes people say, is the insurance going to cover this? Insurance companies don’t come to you the day after and hand you a check,” Houranpay said, KGW8 reported.
The first weekend after George Floyd’s May death, the PBA announced that it opposed systemic racism, but it disagreed with the acts of violence and looting.
“What happened hours later, in the middle of the night, is simply anarchy. We reject and condemn those involved with the looting and wanton destruction on the streets of Portland from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard through the heart of our city,” the PBA said in a statement on May 30.
“The rioting that occurred has left us all devastated,” the PBA added. The organization asked the city to activate the National Guard should looters return.
The National Guard was not activated to respond to civil unrest until Brown approved the deployment on Nov. 4, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
Hundreds of community members gathered to “sweep up truckloads of broken glass” and remove “miles of graffiti,” according to the PBA. “All told, businesses and our community will suffer the loss and or damage of tens of millions of dollars. And even more employees now will go without wages,” the PBA said in a statement.
The Portland Police Bureau did not have a report available of the number of businesses that have sustained damages during demonstrations.
Downtown Portland Clean & Safe and the PBA did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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