PORTLAND, OR – We have heard chants and threats by members of Black Lives Matter and Antifa about defunding or abolishing the police, especially in Portland, Oregon.
We’ve also heard chants like, “What do we want? Dead Pigs! When do we want it? Now!”
Or how about, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!”
Anti-police groups in Portland on Tuesday made their wishes — demands, rather — even more obvious by hoisting a guillotine to the top of the Portland Police Association building at 1868 N. Lombard St., north of downtown.
The building for months has been a focal point for demonstrators. Since June, the stand alone has been the target of vandals, who have broken windows, sprayed graffiti and damaged it otherwise.
On the night of Aug. 25, a riot was declared after protestors marched to the building while chanting “burn it down” and attempted to do just that. Police reported that at least two fires were set on and around the structure.
At least 25 people were arrested during the incident. The conservative news site Hotair reported:
“The group, roughly 300 people, began a march from Arbor Lodge Park at North Delaware Avenue and North Bryant Street about 9:30 p.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.”
This was the arson fire that prompted the riot declaration. It was set within minutes of the march reaching the @PPAVigil offices. The severity of the damage is unclear. This gathering remains a riot. Disperse immediately. pic.twitter.com/pIMC0b8WTS
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) August 25, 2020
With the riot declared, police pushed the crowd away from the building. But as soon as the police retreated, the mob returned and tried again:
“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 11:30 p.m., some individuals lit two fires on the north side of the building, including the awning over the main entrance…
“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.”
— Justin Yau (@PDocumentarians) August 25, 2020
On the night of Oct. 20, Portland police reported that at least 75 protesters marched toward the PPA office with “support vehicles” in tow, before setting fire to a nearby billboard.
The billboard reportedly read, “WAKE UP AMERICA!” and “THANK YOU PORTLAND POLICE BUREAU,” before it was engulfed in flames, according to Sergio Olmos, a reporter with Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Portland protest day 127 pic.twitter.com/QVTTsPRF6M
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) October 20, 2020
Back to the recent activity at the building, quite a lot of information may be gleaned from a Twitter group called the “45th parallel absurdist brigade,” which claims to be a “press collective in PDX.”
The group posted about Tuesday’s incident:
“Marking ~200 days since the start of the #PortlandProtests against racist policing, last night persons unknown affixed a guillotine to the roof of the Portland Police Association building in N. Portland, and hung a banner marked with the reading ‘Abolish PPA – BLM – Night 200’”
Another message told of the history of the Portland Police Association, but without verifying or clarifying the statements:
“The PPA itself is the oldest extant police union, & established the legal precedent of Qualified Immunity, which prevents officers from being held liable for killings on duty. Their contract was the first to mandate that officers not be interrogated for 48 hours after a shooting.”
The PPA itself is the oldest extant police union, & established the legal precedent of Qualified Immunity, which prevents officers from being held liable for killings on duty. Their contract was the first to mandate that officers not be interrogated for 48 hours after a shooting. pic.twitter.com/9MZ6AMsZPD
— 45th parallel absurdist brigade (@45thabsurdist) December 15, 2020
One of the group’s messages went on to explain the history of Antifa’s “three arrows” symbol:
“The three arrows emblem on the banner is an antifascist symbol originating w/ street militants who fought the rise of the Nazi party in 1930s Germany. The first president of the PPA, Otto Meiners, was active in the German American Bund until it was banned at the outbreak of WW2.”
The three arrows emblem on the banner is an antifascist symbol originating w/ street militants who fought the rise of the Nazi party in 1930s Germany. The first president of the PPA, Otto Meiners, was active in the German American Bund until it was banned at the outbreak of WW2. pic.twitter.com/ZDxNaXuvlN
— 45th parallel absurdist brigade (@45thabsurdist) December 15, 2020
Again, there is no verification or clarification for these claims by the “45th parallel absurdist brigade.”
The PPA building is a stark, boarded-up survivor of mindless violence, standing alone against countless physical assaults in an angry city.
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Hundreds of Portland business owners tell city hall they are ‘fed up’ and done ‘passively waiting for help’
December 3, 2020
PORTLAND, OR – Downtown business owners state that they are done “passively waiting for help.”
The consortium of businesses has hopes of getting city hall’s attention.
The newly formed Rose City Downtown Collective sent an urgent message to Portland officials, saying they are fed up with the city’s lackluster response toward restoring their riot-plagued urban hellscape.
The letter was signed by more than 300 people representing a wide variety of businesses, both large and small.
They said they are running out of time, money and hope, demanding that city hall do more.
While other U.S. cities have experienced similar issues this year, the collective claims that Portland has “extra layers of pain” that are simply not being addressed.
The Rose City Downtown Collective cites chronic urban blight issues that are keeping people away from the downtown in droves, such as vandalism; open, illegal drug use; rampant, unimpeded crime; mountains of uncollected trash; and sprawling homeless camps.
Almost every night for the past five months, violence has descended upon the streets of Portland’s downtown until block after block of storefronts are now covered with protective plywood. Those brave enough to leave their glass exposed are taking their chances by creating an inviting target for the “peaceful protesters.”
Real estate developer Jim Mark, CEO of Melvin Mark Co., said:
“We were very frustrated. [Each time] we’d reach out to elected officials, they would seem to just sort of pass this off as though this wasn’t a huge issue.
“Meanwhile, we saw small businesses, minority-owned businesses, businesses of larger businesses start to really give up downtown, whether it was a restaurant or a small shopkeeper.”
Mark contacted Gov. Kate Brown’s office and local officials last summer as he grew increasingly alarmed about the state of downtown. He called on the state and others to unequivocally condemn the violence downtown and take action to revive Portland’s central city. But he felt like his pleas fell on deaf ears.
Eric Murfitt, with Mercantile Portland, said he has lost about $1 million as a result of looting and vandalism.
While his insurance has paid out about half of the $1 million claim, they are in the process of finding a new insurance company. Murfitt said:
“They’ve been doing a good job with our claim, but they did give us a notice of non-renewal, so we are out on the market with our broker looking to find new coverage.”
He said they have been able to find one insurance company, but the premium is going to be four times higher and his deductible would be 25 times higher than last year’s deductible.
Murfitt said of Portland officials:
“It was almost like they weren’t coming downtown and really seeing the damage and destruction that was happening.”
The collective’s leaders hope that the new Portland City Council will step up.
Meanwhile, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued the following statement:
“I appreciate this group’s passion for revitalizing the local economy and spirit of downtown. We need all hands on deck to keep Portland’s economy strong.
“Harnessing the expertise, energy, and resources of our downtown businesses to leverage the city’s efforts will be essential to a successful recovery.”
Andrew Hoan, president and CEO of the Portland Business Alliance, said:
“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.
“I hope every elected official will react and denounce this reprehensible behavior, just as vehemently as when our beloved Oregon Historical Society was attacked.”
The downtown collective has made it clear that it fully supports protesters’ efforts to draw attention to important issues like racial injustice. The group also supports a compassionate response to the homeless crisis.
Many business owners fear that Portland is nearing a point of no return and risk becoming abandoned and dormant.
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Author: James E. Lewis