PORTLAND, Oregon - For the third consecutive day, a large group of demonstrators gathered in the City of Portland on Sunday, May 31, 2020. Two groups gathered in separate areas of the City; one group near the Justice Center and one in Laurelhurst Park.
Thousands of peaceful demonstrators marched from Laurelhurst Park to what used to be PPB's Southeast Precinct located at 4735 East Burnside Street. PPB's Demonstration Liaison Team worked with community member leaders within this group to facilitate a peaceful march. The group marched from the old police precinct to Downtown Portland. The crowd size was estimated to be in the several thousands.
Once downtown, the demonstrators gathered on Southwest 3rd Avenue in front of the Justice Center. The demonstration continued to be largely peaceful for several hours.
At about 11:30 p.m., some of the demonstrators started throwing projectiles at officers in the area of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Main Streets. The sound truck gave admonishments warning this was an unlawful assembly and if the crowd did disperse, force may be used. Despite the warnings, projectiles continued to be thrown at the officers. Officers deployed Riot Control Agents to disperse the crowd. In response, several large aerial mortars (fireworks) were thrown at officers and many detonated nearby. Officers continued to deploy riot control agents and eventually the crowd dispersed.
After the crowd fractured into smaller groups, for about two hours, demonstrators set fires, smashed store front windows, vandalized buildings, and parked vehicles. Officers made arrests and continued to disperse the small groups.
PPB members were joined in partnership by members of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Washington County Sheriff's Office, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, Vancouver Police Department, Gresham Police Department, Port of Portland Police Department, and Oregon State Police. These teams effectively worked together to ensure the safety for all persons in the City of Portland. Some of the partner agencies managed emergency calls for service not related to the demonstration, while others assisted with crowd management.
Throughout the event, 12 adults were arrested and 2 juveniles were detained at the time of this press release, some were still being processed. More information on those arrested and the criminal charges will be provided in an updated release when that information is available.
"It has been a long, difficult and emotional several days in Portland and across the country and we understand why," said Chief Jami Resch. "Yesterday's events started peacefully and there was a very organic moment when some of our Sergeants and demonstrators took a knee together next to the Justice Center. I am proud of this moment, as it reflects community and understanding.
I had the opportunity to meet with several demonstration leaders and heard what they had to say. We agreed that the majority of demonstrators AND the police want a peaceful protest and are frustrated by those who are engaging in violence and destruction because it is not helpful for change efforts. We discussed the desire to meet again to discuss new ways that they can engage with PPB and how we can engage with them in a more productive manner. The leaders were respectful and thoughtful and had good ideas. I am hopeful that we can meet again to have further conversations and I am appreciative that they were willing to speak with me.
Unfortunately, while we were meeting, some individuals started to engage in violent acts towards Officers, which continued despite warnings to disperse. Officers deployed riot control agents to disperse the crowd for the safety of all.
We would like very much to move forward with the change everyone wants, but we are unable to do so when we are faced with violence and destruction of our City. We implore our community to come together with us with calm and not violence so we can heal and identify solutions for a better future."