Protests delay another Portland commissioners meeting - KPTV - FOX 12

Protests delay another Portland commissioners meeting

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Protesters once again shut down a meeting of Portland city commissioners Wednesday.

About 40 people took over the morning meeting, yelling, chanting and even singing songs while commissioners ended up walking out of the chamber, delaying the meeting for nearly two hours.

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly asked protesters to sit down and then quickly halted the meeting and commissioners left.

The demonstrators said the city is not doing enough to help the homeless, that they are worried about police brutality at protests and that they are upset with police shootings of black people, such as the recent death of 17-year-old Quanice Hayes, who police called an armed suspect in a robbery.

The leaders of the protest also said they want Mayor Ted Wheeler to resign.

The Portland Police Bureau monitored the situation, but commissioners went with a “wait them out” strategy, and no police officers rushed into the chamber to make arrests.

Finally, most of the protesters left after about an hour and half, though Eudaly had to come out and personally talk to the final two demonstrators to encourage them to leave the chamber.

Police did intervene after a small group of the protesters ended up in the back of City Hall and were tried to get back in, leading to a couple of people being detained.

Alex DiBlasi was among the protesters, and he told FOX 12 that he’s tired of peaceful protesters getting arrested and horrified with how police take them into custody.

“What leads up to it is people on the sidewalk being told to stay on the sidewalk and then getting their faces smashed in on the pavement,” DiBlasi said. “I’d like to see the Portland Police Bureau stop targeting activists and to stop targeting leaders of resistance movements.”

Both Eudaly and Commissioner Nick Fish spoke with FOX 12 and expressed their frustration with the disruptions.

Fish said that in his nine years on the commission he had never seen meetings get shut down as often as they have in recent months. He said he wants to hear from the residents of Portland but added that commissioners also have to be able to do their job.

“People have an absolute right to come and express themselves, but when you disrupt meetings and you prevent us from functioning as a democracy, you cross a line,” Fish said.

Portland mayor ted wheeler was not at the meeting Wednesday, tweeting out early in the morning that was reporting to jury duty.

Wheeler did release a statement Tuesday night indicating that he thinks police acted too aggressively at the recent protest on President’s Day where 13 people were taken into custody. The mayor wrote that changes are necessary and he expects policing will improve. 

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