PORTLAND, Oregon - Police say demonstrators set small fires to debris by cement walls at the offices of the Portland Police Association building Saturday morning, prompting officials to declare a riot.
On Friday, August 28, 2020 at about 11:45p.m., a march began from Peninsula Park in the street. Many in the gathering were wearing protective gear, including helmets, goggles or gas masks, all black clothing, and/or carrying shields. Marchers arrived at about 12:10a.m. to the PPA building, in the 1800 block of North Lombard Street. They blocked traffic both directions. Someone cut the power line to the building almost immediately.
The PPA office has been the site of numerous violent protests over the past few months, and protesters have lit the building on fire several times. It is located in a residential neighborhood and there is concern that any building fire could spread to occupied homes, especially during the current stretch of dry weather.
About 10 minutes later, individuals wheeled multiple dumpsters into the road and lit at least one on fire. The fire was in the road and not threatening any structures. In the interest of deescalating the situation, Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers remained out of sight. However, arsonists put some debris, including a large mattress, against the front door of the building, appeared to spray accelerant on it, and lit it on fire. The flames appeared to engulf the front door area of the building and nearly reach the roofline. Due to the extreme life safety concerns, the Incident Commander declared the incident a riot. A warning was broadcast by loudspeaker that the incident was declared a riot and all persons were to disperse immediately to the north. Failure to comply with the order may subject them to citation or arrest to the use of tear gas, crowd control agents, and/or impact munitions.
Officers responded and moved the rioters away from the building so the fire could be extinguished. As officers approached, rioters threw objects at them, including rocks. Multiple officers suffered minor injuries after being struck by rocks. During the response, officers used crowd control munitions. However, no CS (tear) gas was deployed.
There was fire damage to the front of the PPA building (photos). Officers also recovered a bottle that contained flammable fluid (photo). An arson investigator responded and gathered evidence of the crime.