The Portland Police Bureau is aware that people are planning to come to downtown Portland to confront each other on Sunday, August 22, 2021 in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. We have seen similar events going back years. In the past, people have shown up with deadly and dangerous items, including firearms. We are aware these events cause significant community concern. They concern us as well.
While the City of Portland and Police Bureau is firmly and consistently supportive of people exercising their constitutional free speech and assembly rights, we know that violence and injuries are avoidable. People can express their views without physically confronting each other, no matter how passionately their views are held.
"This is our main message: if you are planning to come down to instigate fights with those you disagree with, don't come," said Chief Chuck Lovell. "You should not expect to see police officers standing in the middle of the crowd trying to keep people apart. People should keep themselves apart and avoid physical confrontation."
If people do engage in violent activity or property destruction, they are risking arrest and prosecution. The Portland Police Bureau is prepared to monitor this event and may make arrests for crimes when resources allow. That does not always happen in the moment. In past such events, we have consistently conducted follow-up investigations, made arrests, and forwarded cases to the Multnomah County District Attorney for prosecution. Just because arrests are not made at the scene, when tensions are high, does not mean that people are not being charged with crimes later.
To prepare for this potential incident, Chief Lovell has canceled days off for most sworn personnel and available PPB personnel will be working. PPB will not be discussing tactical planning specifics prior to the weekend. Our goal is to be able to respond to life safety events while still providing response to emergency calls for service citywide. Depending on the scope of the events Sunday, there may be a need to divert more resources downtown. If that happens, it may delay police response citywide, especially for any call that is not a life safety emergency. PPB appreciates patience and ask that non-emergency matters be reported on its website or on a later date.
Drivers and other park users should prepare for the possibility that there could be impacts to traffic flow and use of the park.
Source: Portland Police Bureau