PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Mayor Ted Wheeler had strong words for rioters who blocked exits and started a fire at the Portland Police Bureau’s East Precinct building.

“When you commit arson with an accelerant in an attempt to burn down a building that is occupied by people who you have intentionally trapped inside, you are not demonstrating, you are attempting to commit murder,” Wheeler said during an online press conference Thursday.

On Wednesday night, a riot was declared at the Portland Police Bureau location on the 700 block of Southeast 106th Avenue.

Doors were broken, projectiles and fireworks were thrown at officers and rioters disabled security cameras. Tear gas and crowd control munitions were used by police to disperse the crowd.

“I believe that city staff could have died last night. I cannot and I will not tolerate that. This is not peaceful protests. This is not advocacy to advance reforms,” Wheeler said.

Mayor Wheeler on rioters setting fire to Portland police building: ‘You are attempting to commit murder’

On left, rioters at Portland Police Bureau's East Precinct on Wednesday night. On right, Mayor Ted Wheeler during an online press conference Thursday. (KPTV)

Police Chief Chuck Lovell and Lt. Damon Simmons with Portland Fire & Rescue also spoke Thursday.

Simmons said using fire as a weapon is “completely unacceptable” and described being at the scene of an unrelated deadly fire that involved a woman being trapped inside and burned alive.

“This is not a peaceful action,” Simmons said.

Simmons said he supports the Black Lives Matter movement, but pleaded with anyone committing violence to stop.

“Hurting people and trying to trap people in a building and burn them up, it’s just completely awful,” Simmons said.

Wheeler said police responding to situations like the one that unfolded Wednesday night keeps officers away from other crimes, as crime rates reach record levels in the city.

There were 99 shootings in Portland in July, compared to 35 during the same month last year. During all of 2019 there were 388 shootings in Portland. This year there have already been 366.

Wheeler said he doesn’t expect violent protests to stop, but urged non-violent demonstrators who don’t want to be part of planned violence to stay away.

“We anticipate additional planned attacks on occupied public buildings over the next few days,” Wheeler said.

The East Precinct building is in the area of a residential neighborhood. People living nearby told FOX 12 it's frustrating and frightening to have it all happening so close to their homes. 

"If they're looting and burning things this close, what is to prevent them from moving in our direction?" said Alan Cushway. 

"It made me angry that they were here in our neighborhood causing trouble and going after the police precinct," said Barb Cushway. 

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(37) comments

Pameladancer

Show solidarity for the Village Idiots Biden & Wheeler. Mt Tabor Blondes for TRUMP 2020

Son of Fukov

All of a sudden Ted has "strong words" (and no action) only because city employees could have been injured. Who cares about the citizens.

Husky Loyalist

Interesting how this feckless mayor after almost 70 days he complains about the rioters because they are help President Trump so that is why they should stop. There you are - the nexus of his promotion of the rioters until he realizes they are helping Trump who he hates. It is all about his hate - that is the nexus of the 70 days of chaos..

sagebrush

Wheeler must be making this up. I'm sure he said all of the violence was caused by the federal officers. It's time to let Portland die. It has been a cesspool for many years, so just give it to the terrorists with one requirement. Do not let any of the liberal voters leave. Make them stay and pay for what they caused.

Melody.L

You are so right. Took the words out of my mouth. Love it!

Charlatan

wheeler speaks as if they aren't aware of that fact. They are. That's kinda the whole point.

Erik Erlow Eeckhart

The point is to murder people? You just proved the protesters are terrorists, murderers, and that;s what they plan to do

Charlatan

Well what else would be the point of attempting to lock people inside a building and set it on fire?

And no, it doesn't speak to the motivations of every person participating in these protests. It applies only to these specific individuals.

Learn2logic

Rocky_2020

Wheeler, you should be charged for attempted murder because you do nothing about it. For 70 nights you have let this go on. If you can not stop it let me have your job. I will. Time for the Fed's to come back out and clean up this town. This is not about George Floyd. This is about punks trying to ruin the city. Fed's and the national guard armed. Anyone caught doing destruction shoot on site.

Tome

Wheeler was all for them to start! The mentailty of Democrats!

Just curious

[thumbup]Shame on you![scared]

Just curious

[thumbdown][thumbdown]I meant this symbol not the thumbs up.

Yossarian

amazing the fecal matter for brains we have running this town and state.

Oregonian60years

Did Wheeler figure that out all by himself? Or did he need help? Maybe a picture book or watch old films of what real protests looked like? And it only took him over two months.

sharder8

Some of the rioters that lit the fire were arrested . . . I'll bet they get a slap on the wrist and released within a day. Start charging them with attempt to commit murder and try them . . . Only then, will you be taken seriously by the rioters and people of Portland. Ain't gonna happen!

Facts Matter

They have only been putting lives at risk for how long?? Did the city attorneys finally convince you that you are culpable for allowing this to go on for so long under your authority, and progressively get worse. We need a new word added to the dictionary that describes your incompetence, how about paTEDic? jomann is just as guilty. Lock them both up!

Frederick Fukov

Ya ever notice how much "jomann" looks like those mummified remains you see in egyptian tombs? Truly one of the most hideous looking and acting humans I've ever seen.

Just curious

[thumbup] I call her a walking skeleton.

ItsPolitical

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

NOYB

Later he invited the thugs over for fondue and pajama party..

lanquan

Write to "Spineless" Ted ted.wheeler@portlandoregon.gov

Write to "I Hate The Police" Hardesty JoAnn@portlandoregon.gov

ItsPolitical

In all seriousness, does Hardesty have a speech impediment or is she hearing-impaired? Half the time, I cannot understand anything she's saying - not that any of it matters.

lanquan

Wow..KPTV is using the word RIOTERS?? What took you soooo long? For 70 days KPTV continued to call them "protesters" and only now that the public and OUR Chief of Police is absolutely sick of those dirt bags did KPTV decide to man up? Too little too late Media cretins. And the hilarious part is that KPTV is trying to make "Spineless Ted look tough by inserting the word "rioters" whereas Ted "Spineless Wheeler did not even say it!

He has never called those destructive clowns "rioters".

Frederick Fukov

Just like Barry O'Bama would never call ISIS "radical islamic terrorists."

ItsPolitical

ALL local media is complicit in this, by sugar-coating everything and leaving out pertinent details. Even KPTV. I don;t even bother watching them anymore, because of the half-truths and convenient omissions.

sophiad503

Please continue calling them rioters. I have heard enough of “peaceful protesters”, especially after 70 nights of this violent mob destroying our city. With their recent move to residential neighborhoods I hope more action will be taken in quelling this insurrection.

ItzaSeakrit

"attempting to commit murder"

Just an FYI, Mayor milquetoast:

that's a pretty serious FELONY, on its' own. Kudos for the powerful scolding, though 🙄😒 SO pathetic. PLEASE resign.

mairez

Do they have any idea how ridiculous it sounds when they say: "arson and murder are completely unacceptable?"

commentor

'Mayor Wheeler on rioters setting fire at Portland police building: ‘You are attempting to commit murder’ And because I refused to put an end to the nightly rioting, I tacitly approved of this.

Bottom line Spineless Ted, you are to little to late, the damage is done. Own it!

Merlin

And Ted, if anyone dies, you are an accomplice to murder.

ItsPolitical

As is the City of Portland. It's all about $$$ not anyone's safety, or law and order.

Delta85

No kidding Mr mayor so what are you going to do about it? Nothing like always when you tough talk to a kid and don't back it up that kid just keeps doing what they were supposed not to do! When does the city take action and say enough is enough?

Frederick Fukov

Uhh..never..as long as liberals rule the roost, and that's never going to revert back or move in the right direction, ever again. It's only going to continue to keep getting worse.

DD877

I thought this was going to go away when the Feds left... Soy-Boy was forced to act...

FedUp

They were already acting violently and he just now decides this. WOW!!! Shameful!

Frederick Fukov

I know..right? Can you believe this imbecile? He's such a child.

MDE

“Hurting people and trying to trap people in a building and burn them up, it’s just completely awful,” Simmons said.

Completely awful? NO! it's criminal behavior.

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