PORTLAND, OR—The 77th night of demonstrations in Portland transpired in the downtown area on August 12.
People began to gather at 9 p.m. on the steps of the Justice Center. The high-rise building houses the county jail and local police precinct and has served as the meeting point for downtown protests since the start of the Portland demonstrations.
A series of speakers addressed the crowd. Edreece Phillips, a 48-year-old activist and hip-hop artist, spoke to fellow demonstrators who he felt were “opportunists,” noting “We’re not about destruction. We’re about the rebuild.”
At 10 p.m. around 300 people gathered near the steps.
Destiny Houston, another local activist, noted, “This is a marathon, so white people, I need you to run this marathon…Black liberation is tied to your freedom.”
As speeches continued, a separate crowd began to form a half-block away on Main Street.
The rally on the Justice Center’s steps wrapped up around 10:30 p.m. and Phillips urged those gathered to leave and return the next night.
About 250 people remained past 10:30 p.m. At 10:50 p.m. some demonstrators moved toward the fence of the county courthouse and the first firework of the night exploded.
Authorities claimed someone “threw an unknown foreign substance” toward the doors of the central precinct within the center.
A police officer warned over a loudspeaker at 11:20 p.m.: “This criminal behavior must stop now.”
Cars attempting to leave a parking garage across from the Justice center were stropped by the crowd, and at 11:30 p.m. the gathering was labeled unlawful.
A vehicle carrying officers in riot gear arrived at the area. The officers did not engage with the crowd immediately.
At 11:40 p.m. officers in riot gear arriving from the south began to push people away from the parking garage and the justice center.
The officers pushed the crowd four blocks past Pioneer Place Mall utilizing stun grenades.
At around 11:55 p.m., people began throwing rocks, bottles, and cans of paint at the officers.
Just before midnight, the gathering became labeled a riot and the police began to retreat after releasing a cloud of smoke.
At 12:15 a.m., police staged on Second Avenue, repeatedly asked the demonstrators to leave, and tear gas was ultimately utilized to disperse the crowd.
By 1:45 a.m. only a few dozen demonstrators remained staged outside the Justice Center.
The police announced, “This even it still a riot…you’re ordered to disperse.
Several people were arrested, but an official amount has not been released to the public. This was the first time tear gas had been used downtown since its almost nightly use throughout much of July, and since state troopers took over the security measures of the federal courthouse from federal officers.