In email to neighbors, Wheeler says he’s moving following Monday night riot outside condo building

Updated: Sep. 2, 2020 at 12:22 PM PDT
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In email to neighbors, Wheeler says he's moving following Monday night riot outside condo...
In email to neighbors, Wheeler says he's moving following Monday night riot outside condo building(KPTV Image)

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - A riot that took place Monday night outside Mayor Ted Wheeler’s condo has prompted him to tell his neighbors that he’s looking for a new place to live, and apologize to them for the damage done.

A demonstration outside of Wheeler’s home in the Pearl District was declared a riot when people broke windows, looted a business, and set fire inside an occupied apartment building. Police arrested 19 people.

In an email to his condo neighbors, Wheeler sincerely apologized for the damage and the fear that the riot caused.

This was not the first time a protest has occurred at Wheeler’s home in the Pearl District. In June, protesters blocked off streets and barricaded themselves outside the condo building.

Just last week, protesters gathered both outside and inside the condo building.

Monday night brought protesters out again - this time because it was Wheeler’s birthday. Protesters derided Wheeler with a mock celebration by setting off fireworks and shattering windows.

Eli Shemali owns Pearl District Dental, which is in a ground floor corner of the building. Police said protesters threw burning material into his office. Thankfully, the fire was quickly put out.

With his office back open on Wednesday, Shemali called the mayor’s email very gracious, but said he didn’t feel it was necessary.

Shemali told FOX 12 that he does not hold the mayor responsible for the damage done to his business.

A person who lives a block away from Wheeler’s condo says he’s happy with the mayor’s decision.

“I was happy to hear it. It’s more sleep for us and less anxiety. When you live in a condo, you have to protect the other residents,” Bob Garsha said. “If you’re a presence that’s going to bring a demonstration and looting then I think it’s best that he does leave.”

In the email, provided to FOX 12 by a resident of the building, Wheeler wrote that the riot Monday was “unfair to all of you who have no role in politics or in my administration.” He went on to say that “all Portlanders deserve a safe and undisturbed place to call home.”

Wheeler also wrote the damage caused by the riot to the condo building and surrounding businesses is “unacceptable.”

“As much as I have enjoyed living in our building and being your neighbor, it is best for me and for everyone else’s safety and peace that I move,” Wheeler wrote in his email. He states he is currently looking for a new place to live.

The mayor plans to meet with residents and staff on Thursday to discuss their safety concerns.