PORTLAND, OR—On Wednesday, August 5, the 70th night of daily protesting, the Portland Police Department declared a riot for the second night in a row.
Federal officers left their post at the federal courthouse in Portland on July 29. Between then and August 4, protests downtown showed no need for large-scale police responses. Protests from the past two days have occurred miles away from downtown, in front of police buildings throughout the city.
On August 4, around 100 protesters gathered at North Portland’s Peninsula Park at 8 p.m. and marched to the Portland Police Association building on North Lombard Street. Protesters chanted, listened to speakers, and set trash bins on fire. Some attempted to break into the building, to which police responded with a warning to stop or face arrest or use of force, issued around 10:30 p.m. After declaring the assembly unlawful, authorities warned the use of tear gas.
At 11 p.m., a driver in a pickup truck drove through the street where the crowd was gathered, pushing a discarded motorcycle along its path. Gunshots were heard in the 7000 block of North Mobile Avenue, less than a half-mile from the police building, and 15 minutes later gunshots were heard near a 7-11 convenience store. The crowd scattered, and officers arrived to investigate. No injuries were reported in the shootings or incident with the truck.
At 1:20 a.m., some protestors broke through the doors of the police building and entered. According to Officer Daryl Turner, president of the Portland Police Association, they tore a television from a wall and tried to start a fire on the kitchen floor, and authorities deemed the protest a riot.
Most of the crowd left by 3 a.m., and three people were arrested and jailed in the aftermath.
Riots continued on August 5, at the Portland Police East Precinct on Southeast 106th Avenue, where about 100 protesters gathered shortly after 9 p.m. The crowd chanted, “No good cops in a racist system!” Around 9:15 p.m., authorities told the crowd over a loudspeaker to leave because they were participating in criminal activity.
According to The Oregonian, a journalist saw a protester point a green laser at a security camera at the precinct. Other security cameras were covered with spray paint, and one was torn down by a protester, authorities noted. Some protesters removed plywood from the windows and used them for a fire in the street and dumpsters were pushed to form barricades on the street. After the crowd’s size increased to around 200, police declared the gathering unlawful at 9:45 p.m., telling people to leave immediately.
Someone used a metal tool to repeatedly hit a glass window of the building. Someone started a fire in a trash can next to the entrance. Around 9:55 p.m., police declared the gathering a riot, and warned that if people did not leave, they would be subject to arrest or dispersal by impact munitions or tear gas.
Officers in riot gear appeared 10 minutes later and forced the crowd to move, using stun grenades and tear gas, while getting hit by commercial-grade fireworks and random objects.
While authorities reported there might have been an explosive device placed in front of the building, it was later deemed a non-explosive, dozens of officers and protesters faced each other in lines near 108th Avenue and Washington Street. At 10:20 p.m., police advanced on protesters, forcing them east.