Portland Police declared a demonstration a riot Monday night as several fires were set.
Portland Police report that a group, roughly 300 people, began a march from Arbor Lodge Park at North Delaware Avenue and North Bryant Street about 9:30p.m. They walked north directly to the Portland Police Association Building in the 1800 block of North Lombard Street. Among other things, the crowd chanted "burn it down." Many in the crowd carried shields, wore helmets, gas masks, and body armor.
Within minutes of the crowd arriving, people were seen going to the back of the building. Power to the building was cut and flames were seen shooting up the side of the building. The PPA office is located on the edge of a residential area with wood-frame houses. Dry summer weather exacerbated the fire danger. Due to the extreme life safety concerns, the incident commander determined that it was a riot. The urgency to extinguish the fire was extreme. Someone in the crowd appeared to pour some kind of accelerant on it as the fire exploded rapidly.
Warnings were issued over loudspeaker as officers moved in and forced the crowd away. The crowd was advised that failure to leave will subject them to arrest and/or the use of crowd control munitions including but not limited to tear gas and impact weapons. Initially the crowd was directed to the west, but the bulk of the crowd fled to the east. So to avoid confusion, those involved in the riot were directed east and south. Multiple arrests were made. Officers discovered the first fire was on the west side of the building, and a second fire was actively burning on the south side. The fires were put out and the building was checked to verify the flames had not spread to the interior.
As most of the crowd was moved away, and to reduce the intensity of the situation, officers disengaged. More warnings were issued to those still in the area that the event was a riot and they needed to disperse.
Almost immediately people began to return. Chain link fencing was pulled into roadway to block traffic. Another fire was lit in the middle of the street.
At 11:30p.m., some individuals lit two fires on the north side of the building, including the awning over the main entrance. Again, warnings were issued via loudspeaker that the incident was a riot and that all persons must leave immediately to the south and east, and if they did not they were subject to arrest, citation, and the use of crowd control munitions including, but not limited to, tear gas and impact weapons. Officers had to quickly move in to put out the fires before they could spread. More arrests were made. During at least one arrest, officers had a crowd surround them and hit them with umbrellas and other objects. They were able to pull an arrested individual away.
As officers tried to disengage again, people with "press" printed on their outer clothing were seen throwing rocks at them. A rock struck the windshield of their transport vehicle, cracking the glass (photo).
Chain link fences and other blockades were used by rioters to close the streets. Officers again pulled them out of the street in an attempt to reopen traffic.
During the event, and after numerous warnings were given, Portland Police deployed CS (tear) gas and used other crowd control munitions.
About 1:00a.m., most of the participants left the area and vehicular traffic was restored.
Due to the threats of violence and destruction, approximately 30 patrol officers had to be pulled from the precincts. That severely limited response to calls for service. By the end of the evening, over 100 calls for service were holding in the city of Portland, including a priority disturbance, a priority assault, a priority burglary to an occupied apartment, welfare checks, threats, and roadway hazards.