Two people were arrested Monday as law enforcement officers scattered a crowd of downtown Portland demonstrators after some in the group smashed windows on and around the Portland State University campus.
The demonstration, held on the eve of Election Day, was the first this week policed under a unified command structure led by the Oregon State Police and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. The unified command, announced earlier Monday, was established in anticipation of large demonstrations and other unrest surrounding the election.
The unified command took effect at 5 p.m. Monday and will run through Wednesday at 5 p.m., but Gov. Kate Brown will have the authority to extend it if needed — or rescind it earlier.
Monday’s protest was short-lived. Officers appeared as soon as protesters began to march about 9 p.m., announcing via loudspeaker that there was no permit for the march and ordering demonstrators to remain on the sidewalk.
Law enforcement officials said the windows of a Starbucks coffee shop, located in the ground floor of a high-rise apartment building, were shattered and a flammable liquid poured inside. The liquid wasn’t ignited, but authorities claimed police “interrupted a possible arson attempt.”
People also shattered windows at the Portland State University Campus Public Safety Office while others shouted the name of Jason Washington, a man shot and killed by a Portland State police officer in 2018.
That case added to already mounting pressure for the university to reconsider its armed police force, though it won’t meet its own deadline of transitioning to unarmed campus police officers this fall.
About 9:15 p.m., authorities declared the event an unlawful assembly as windows were being broken out at the campus buildings. Police arrived quickly and in large numbers, videos posted online showed.
One of the people arrested is accused of felony burglary and criminal mischief, as well as misdemeanor disorderly conduct. The other is accused of interfering with a peace officer.
Monday’s protest event was promoted through social networks as an “autonomously organized” “direct action event,” and a promotional image said the video live-streamers who typically document protests would be barred.
More large demonstrations will likely take place Tuesday.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has said police officers’ time off has been canceled during the election in anticipation of unrest, and Brown has said the National Guard will be on standby.
— Jim Ryan