PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Police declared a riot outside the Multnomah Building Tuesday, during the 83rd consecutive night of protests in Portland.
The Portland Police Bureau said hundreds gathered in Colonel Summers Park, located on the 1800 block of Southeast Taylor Street, for a march that began around 9 p.m.
The group marched west to the 500 block of Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, which is where the Multnomah Building is located. While the group marched, police said streets were blocked by support vehicles associated with the group.
Once at the Multnomah Building, police said protesters blocked traffic on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard at Southeast Grand Avenue. Several members of the crowd were seen carrying shields and wearing helmets and gas masks, according to police. Many began to vandalize the Multnomah Building with graffiti.
Around 10 p.m., a large dumpster fire was lit near Southeast 6th Avenue and Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard. Another fire was started in a dumpster and the dumpster was then rolled towards the southwest side of the Multnomah Building by members of the group.
Police said small fires were also lit outside of the Multnomah Building and some members of the crowd began cracking the building’s windows. Several windows were cracked, and some windows were broken completely open when group members threw large rocks at them.
According to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, some individuals poured lighter fluid into a first-floor office.
Around 10:20 p.m., MCSO said a person was seen on a livestream heaving a large pile of burning material onto a desk inside the building.
Police said the fire alarms and sprinkler system went off inside of the building.
“The unprovoked actions by those who engaged in criminal behavior is reprehensible,” Sheriff Mike Reese said in a statement. “It is simply violence and serves no legitimate purpose. It does nothing to solve the issues our community faces.”
Just before 10:30 p.m., police declared a riot outside the building and told those in the area to leave or be subject to citation or arrest or crowd control.
Police said despite several warnings, the group remained at the scene.
A few minutes after the riot declaration, officers began dispersing the crowd and, while doing so, police said they were hit with projectiles.
About an hour later, around 11:26 p.m., the crowd began walking back towards the Multnomah Building, police said. Several more public address announcements were made by officers to the crowd, reminding them a riot had been declared. And another dispersal of the crowd ensued. During the dispersal, a member of the crowd threw a rock at the PPB sound truck, police said, and an officer sustained a minor injury.
By 12:25 a.m. Wednesday, the group marched back to Colonel Summers Park and soon after left the area.
Police said some crowd control munitions were used during dispersal but stated no tear gas was used.
PPB said officers made two arrests. Police identified those arrested as Jesse Hawk, 23, and Peter Curtis, 40.
The Multnomah County District Attorney's Office released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying no complaint orders were issued regarding both Hawk and Curtis, "due to missing information needed by our office to make a charging decision."
The filing of no complaint orders means the charges against Hawk and Curtis have been dropped at this time, however they can be reinstated at a later date. The district attorney's office stated, "Once the additional information is provided to the district attorney's office, the case(s) will be reviewed."
Wednesday morning, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt released the following statement on the riot:
"The violent and intentional criminal behavior that occurred at the Multnomah Building is the antithesis to the work Multnomah County and its dedicated and diverse staff is doing daily to uplift, support and improve our community. The people working in the Multnomah Building serve a critical mission to the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to adversely impact marginalized communities. Breaking out windows, setting fires and committing assaults will not bring the much needed reform we need. I join Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese and others in working with our community to bring about transformational change. I continue to condemn this violence. As Sheriff Reese said, it has no legitimate purpose. This destructive and illegal behavior needs to stop."
PPB Chief Lovell also released a statement Wednesday, saying in part: "Officers continue to respond each night, knowing they will have rocks, fireworks, and more thrown at them. They see the injuries sustained by their co-workers and wonder if this will be the night they are injured as well. Officers continue to respond in order to protect life and safety and arrest those responsible for criminal acts. Morale is low as they face what appears to be endless destruction within the City they took an oath to serve and protect. I am bolstered by their grit and determination to do everything they can each and every night to prevent a worst case scenario."
Lovell's full statement can be read here.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler shared his response to the riot on Twitter Wednesday afternoon:
I continue to support and encourage demonstrations calling for racial justice and police reform. I condemn the criminal destruction that occurred last night at the Multnomah County Building.— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) August 19, 2020
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