Demonstrators Target Two Portland Locations

Photo: KATU

Demonstrators tried to split Portland Police last night by threatening to set fire to East Precinct and they attacked the new fence around Lownsdale Square.

Lownsdale Square is located across the street from the Federal Courthouse and has been the site of nightly demonstrations for more than a month-and-a-half. The fence was set up on Thursday after police cleared campers out of the park. The City closed the park for repairs.

Here are the details from Portland Police:

In the evening hours of Thursday, July 16, 2020, a group of a couple hundred people gathered at Laurelhurst Park in Southeast Portland. A separate group of a couple hundred people gathered in downtown Portland near the Justice Center.

Around 8:20 p.m., the group in Laurelhurst Park began marching towards Southeast Precinct located on the 4700 block of East Burnside Street. Once the group arrived at Southeast Precinct, they gathered on East Burnside Street blocking all lanes of traffic. For about an hour, the group shined flashlights and lasers at officers standing outside the precinct. The group was asked by the sound truck to stay peaceful.

At around 9:52 p.m., the group began making statements about wanting to enter Southeast Precinct and burn down the property. The group was admonished by the sound truck and told not to enter the property or they would be subject to arrest or use of force. The group continued to stand in the street and started a small fire on East Burnside Street. Other members of the group disregarded the messages given by the sound truck and crossed on to Southeast Precinct property.

While the event was occurring at Southeast Precinct, the other group downtown began removing the fence surrounding Lownsdale Square at Southwest 4th Avenue and Southwest Salmon Street. After removing the fence, the group began using it to block traffic. Officers arrived at Southwest 4th Avenue and Southwest Salmon Street in an attempt to fix the fence. While officers did this, the group threw full bottles at officers. After fixing the fence, officers disengaged the crowd.

By 11:15 p.m., the crowd outside of Southeast Precinct shined lasers at officers, and continued to cross on to Southeast Precinct property despite several admonishments not to. At 11:40 p.m., officers at Southeast Precinct made several targeted arrests. At 11:45 p.m., an unlawful assembly was declared due to several people in the crowd committing criminal activity. The criminal activity consisted of throwing rocks, bottles, and sticks, as well as pointing green lasers at officers. The group was asked to leave the area and move to the south and the west.

At 11:55 p.m., much of the group had not left the area despite warnings and officers began to disperse the crowd. While dispersing the group, a vehicle associated with the group drove up behind officers, narrowly missing officers on foot and causing an extremely dangerous situation. The vehicle was later stopped. After successfully making several arrests, officers disengaged the crowd. After disengaging the crowd, the majority returned to Southeast Precinct, and continued blocking East Burnside Street.

By 12:30 a.m., the group downtown had dismantled most of the south side fence surrounding Lownsdale Park. After dismantling the fence, the group put the fence in Southwest Main Street, blocking all traffic.

At 12:45 a.m., several admonishments were given to the group reminding them an unlawful assembly had been declared and they were to leave the area near Southeast Precinct to the south and the west. Most of the group who had returned to Southeast Precinct continued to stand on East Burnside Street blocking all lanes of traffic despite all the warnings. Officers once again began to disperse the crowd and made several arrests.

Both groups dissipated in the following hours.

No CS gas was used by Portland Police Bureau.

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