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Rioters Try To Set Up Portland ‘Autonomous Zone,’ Set Fire To Occupied Police Precinct

Portland, OR – Rioters looted and torched North Portland businesses and tried to burn down an occupied police precinct while working to establish an “autonomous zone” early Friday morning, according to the Portland Police Bureau (PPB).

The mass destruction occurred after a group of anti-police protesters marched from Fernhill Park to the PPB’s North Precinct at the intersection of Northeast Emerson Street and Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on Thursday evening, KVAL reported.

By about 10 p.m., hundreds of people had gathered outside the police station and began blocking traffic while they constructed a fence to set up their own “autonomous zone,” according to KOIN.

Rioters hurled glass bottles and other projectiles at officers before ramming two dumpsters into the garage doors in an attempt to force entry into the west side of the precinct, the PPB told KVAL.

When their efforts to bust in failed, the rioters opted to barricade the doors of the precinct so officers and inmates would be unable to escape, according to police.

“Burn the building down!” a rioter with a bullhorn yelled at approximately 12 a.m., according to KVAL.

Rioters also lit large fires in the middle of the street, KVAL reported.

The crowd launched fireworks at police who had positioned themselves behind a barricade on Northeast Emerson Street.

Police declared the gathering to be an unlawful assembly at approximately 1 a.m., and ordered the mob to either disperse or be arrested, KVAL reported.

They waited for 20 minutes before they began breaking up the gathering.

Rioters responded by firing paintball rounds at officers’ face shields, blocking their ability to see, KVAL reported.

One rioter launched a mortar onto the roof of the precinct, at which point police began deploying crowd control munitions.

The mob managed to set the north side of the station on fire at approximately 2:15 p.m., threatening the lives of the inmates and police employees inside the building, according to the PPB.

Officers launched CS gas at the crowd in order to save the people inside the precinct, the department said.

Some of the rioters managed to toss the canisters back at police, KVAL reported.

By approximately 3 a.m., most of the violent mob had turned its attention to looting, vandalizing and torching nearby businesses.

A majority of the rioters had fled the area by 3:30 a.m., according to KVAL.

Police arrested a total of four suspects during the mayhem.

All of them have been charged for assaulting or attempting to assault police officers, KVAL reported.

Police said that several officers were injured during the overnight attacks.

One officer was transported to the hospital, but all of the injured officers are expected to recover, KVAL reported.

The PPB said that the rioters that attacked North Portland were “more aggressive and violent than those seen in weeks past,” KGW reported.

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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