Portland protest groups set sights on cleanup after late-night r - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland protest groups set sights on cleanup after late-night riot

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A driver said her windshield was smashed by protesters Thursday night. (KPTV) A driver said her windshield was smashed by protesters Thursday night. (KPTV)

Crowds of people took to the Portland city streets Thursday night for the third night of presidential election protests, but the gathering quickly took a dangerous turn.

Now, local protest groups are taking action to help repair some of the damages left behind. 

The Portland Police Bureau said 26 people were arrested during the riot after an anarchist group joined the crowd and began causing unrest.  

The protest began around 5 p.m. at Pioneer Courthouse Square and was described as relatively peaceful. The demonstrators were on the move a short time later. 

Organizers said people from different local activist groups, including Don't Shoot Portland and Black Lives Matter, had come together to form a larger group called "Portland's Resistance."

Police allowed the protesters to take over several bridges and sections of I-5 and I-84.

Later, officers began issuing orders for the crowds to either disperse or head back to Pioneer Courthouse Square. When those orders were ignored, police started using force.

At 8:30 p.m., police said due to "extensive criminal and dangerous behavior," the protest was being considered a riot. Under Oregon Law, a riot is a Class C felony.

Officers were forced to use flash grenades, rubber bullets, rubber batons and pepper spray to break up the crowd, which police said consisted of thousands.

Portland police said the anarchist splinter group was causing most of the trouble.

Protesters moved through downtown Portland through towards the Pearl District, damaging cars and local businesses.

Many businesses in the area of 11th Avenue and Lovejoy suffered damage, including a FedEx shop, Umpqua Bank, Chase Bank, Starbucks and Bella Casa.

Employees said they were angry that the protestors took to such measures.

“How are you making your voice being heard by smashing local businesses? This is unacceptable," said a local employee. “This is not the Portland that we live in.”

The crowd began to disperse early Friday morning.

One protest organizer, Gregory McKelvey, released a statement Friday, saying that the violent nature of the protest was not their intention and it had nothing to do with Portland Resistance.

We made it very clear that ours was a movement born out of love, infused by peace and inhospitable to those that would put us all at risk in the name of actions that are inflammatory, divisive and strategically ill-conceived. That remains our goal.

McKelvey also issued an apology to the local businesses that suffered damage. 

We sincerely apologize to anyone who's property was damaged, even though it was not done by our group, and we invite you to join us, to heal, and to consider the conditions that enrage, enflame and divide us all.

Organizers said their goal is to have a safe Portland and have started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money to repair the damages done to the small businesses Thursday night. 

A volunteer cleanup event is scheduled  for 8 a.m. on Friday at Tanner Springs Park on Northwest 10th Avenue. Learn more at the event's Facebook page.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales released a statement Friday saying the majority of protesters were peaceful, but "anarchists shut down these voices by spreading violence and fear."

Last night's violence is not a reflection of Portland values. We will continue to support and advocate on behalf of women and people of color. We will continue to welcome our Muslim brothers and sisters, immigrants and refugees. We are Portland, a community that believes in equity, inclusion and openness. That will not change.

Hales met with Portland police Friday morning and toured damaged property and businesses. 

This was the third night of protests in the Portland metro area. Other demonstrations took place throughout the country.

Another rally is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at Portland City Hall. 

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