PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – On New Year’s Eve, a riot was declared in downtown Portland after police say officers engaged with a violent crowd.
According to the Portland Police Bureau, officers learned of a gathering in the area of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Southwest Main Street around 7:45 p.m. The crowd was about 100 people and police said some members of the group began to engage in violence.
PPB said at least two Molotov cocktail-style firebombs were thrown by the crowd. Additionally, large, commercial grade aerial fireworks were launched at the Federal Courthouse and the Justice Center.
Some people were seen trying to use tools to break into the Justice Center, police said, but those attempts failed.
According to PPB, officers had to be pulled from other calls citywide to come downtown. PPB officers were not the only law enforcement at the scene; Federal Protective Services officers and Multnomah County deputies also engaged with the crowd.
Projectiles from the crowd were thrown at law enforcement, PPB said. The variety of projectiles included large rocks, bricks and frozen water bottles.
Paint balloons were aimed at some officers. Police said the balloons may have been laced with a caustic substance, since it caused burning to the skin. Some law enforcement officers suffered injuries, but none were PPB officers the bureau said.
A riot was declared just before 11 p.m. and the crowd was told by officers to disperse.
PPB said few, if any, crowd members followed the order to leave the area.
Several fires were lit by crowd members during the riot, PPB said. In one of the fires, a garage can was lit and melted into the pavement. In another fire, a crosswalk signal was torched.
PPB said crowd members continued to throw things at officers.
By 2 a.m. New Year’s Day, police said the crowd has mostly dispersed.
PPB reported no tear gas was used in the downtown response by its officers but did say inert smoke and some impact munitions were used.
The bureau said several downtown businesses were damaged in the violence. Reports of damage are still being complied by officers.
PPB said its officers made multiple arrests Thursday night, those people include:
- Daniel Wuanti, 20, of Portland, criminally cited for Interfering with a Peace Officer and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree.
- Joshua Steele, 23, unknown residence, booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center on charges of Burglary in the Second Degree.
- A male juvenile, 15, of Vernonia, booked in the Juvenile Detention on charges of Burglary in the Second Degree, Riot, Interfering with a Peace Officer and a warrant for sexual assault.
Any victims of crimes during Thursday night’s events downtown is asked to report it to PPB online and reference case number 20-384961.