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Portland Rioters Set Fires In Residential Neighborhood, Attack ICE Building

Portland, OR – Hundreds of Portland rioters – many of whom were wearing gas masks and helmets and carrying shields – attacked the occupied U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) building on Wednesday night.

Officers were hit with rocks “the size of softballs,” as well as other projectiles including a hammer, full cans of soda, and glass bottles during the mayhem on Aug. 19, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) said in a press release.

The 84th consecutive night of rioting kicked off at approximately 9:15 p.m., when hundreds of people gathered at Elizabeth Caruthers Park on South Moody Avenue.

The mob marched from the park to the ICE building on South Macadam Avenue, blocking traffic along the way, police said.

They also cut off traffic around the building, then proceeded to bang and kick the windows and doors while shining lasers at the federal officers inside.

Some members of the mob graffitied the ICE facility, according to police.

PPB declared an unlawful assembly at 10:07 p.m. and ordered the crowd to disperse to the north.

They also warned the rioters that they would potentially be subjected to impact weapons, crowd control munitions, and tear gas if they refused to comply.

“Despite several warnings, the crowd remained outside of the ICE Building,” the PPB said.

Police began dispersing the mob about 10 minutes later.

Rioters immediately attacked them with rocks and glass bottles, and members of the group used “shields to resist officers’ efforts,” the PPB said.

The mob returned to the ICE building immediately after they were driven away.

Rioters shoved a dumpster towards the building at one point before federal officers stepped outside.

“In the past, dumpsters have been lit on fire and moved next to targeted buildings, in an attempt to set structural fires,” the PPB explained.

Rioters pelted federal officers with glass bottles and rocks “the size of softballs,” as well as various other projectiles, police said.

The PPB subsequently declared the gathering a riot.

Officers again issued warnings as they tried to disperse the mob.

The crowd lit a mattress on fire in the middle of the intersection at South Bond Avenue and South Gaines Street – a residential area – then stole a picnic table from a nearby business and threw it into the blaze, police said.

“While the fire was burning, group members blocked the intersection and chanted loudly,” according to the PPB.

A large portion of the crowd headed back to the ICE building shortly after 11:30 p.m., and began busting out the windows of the facility, police said.

Officers dispersed the mob yet again as they were attacked “with more large rocks and water bottles.”

A small group returned to the ICE building shortly thereafter, but the riot fizzled out by approximately 1:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Two people were arrested during the overnight mayhem.

Mark Putman, 25, and Joshua Buckley, 30, were both arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer.

Multiple officers suffered minor injuries due to being hit by the large rocks hurled by the rioters, the PPB said.

Police confirmed they deployed CS gas and used crowd control munitions at various points during the night.

Earlier in the day, PPB Chief Chuck Lovell issued a statement denouncing the “senseless criminal activity” that has taken place in the city every night for nearly three months.

“Breaking windows, using accelerants to ensure a fire catches and damaging property are not solutions, but further demonstrate the intent to engage in anarchy at the expense of the entire community,” Chief Lovell said. “To effect change, we must work to build and not destroy…The damage is costing millions of dollars that could be used to help people during an already challenging time.”

The chief acknowledged that “morale is low” amongst the PPB ranks.

“Officers continue to respond each night, knowing they will have rocks, fireworks, and more thrown at them,” he said. “They see the injuries sustained by their co-workers and wonder if this will be the night they are injured as well.”

Chief Lovell said he is inspired by the dedication and determination of his officers.

“Morale is low as they face what appears to be endless destruction within the City they took an oath to serve and protect,” he said. “I am bolstered by their grit and determination to do everything they can each and every night to prevent a worst case scenario.”

Chief Lovell said that community members have been asking him “how this will end” and when the violence will stop.

“The solution is in a critical mass of community and partners coming together to denounce this criminal activity and call it out as it does not represent what we know our community at large wants or values,” he wrote. “The solution includes broad support for the police to do their job in exhausting and challenging circumstances.”

“The solution also includes elected officials and people in positions of power coming together in support of the real change, but against those who continue to feel empowered to act in a way that devalues our City with every brick thrown, every fire lit, and every crime committed,” the chief added.

The world has been watching the violence unfold in Portland for the past 84 days, he pointed out.

“The stakes are high,” Chief Lovell said. “We are on the national stage right now. I would much rather be known for being leaders in change rather than nightly violence.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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