PORTLAND, Ore. – After nights of protests and riots, Portland city leaders Saturday said enough is enough.
“Going to the streets for another night is not going to keep Donald Trump from taking office. It isn’t going to change anything,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
Hales pleaded for people who want to protest Donald Trump’s election as president to do so in other ways, such as joining local groups who need volunteers.
“There has been great unrest about this election. And there are people who are profoundly concerned about the future of our country. I’m one of them. But here’s my message. That is not the work of four days. That is the work of four years,” Hales said. “Get involved. But don’t come participate in a protest in downtown Portland that has been taken over the last three nights by people who simply want to fight with police.”
Protesters marched on freeways early Wednesday morning and night before Thursday night’s vandalism and destruction, which resulted in 25 arrests.
Police Chief Mike Marshman said that criminal behavior will not be tolerated.
“If you’re upset with the election, please don’t come out and protest,” he said. “We are done with criminal activity in this city. It’s time to move on and to move forward.”
On Friday night, 17 people were arrested. Marshman said protesters threw rocks, bottles and fired fireworks at officers. One person was also shot on the Morrison Bridge during the protests. Two people have since been arrested and are facing charges of attempted murder, but Marshman said the shooting is an example of bad things when protests become chaotic.
“That’s the danger that can happen is some of these events,” he said. “It’s unfortunate it happened. It’s fortunate nothing worse happened from that.”
As for Saturday night, Marshman said he didn’t know what to expect. Portland’s Resistance, a newly organized peaceful protest group, said they won’t protest Saturday but plan to have a vigil Sunday. Other groups have used Portland Resistance’s events as an opportunity to promote their initiatives.
“We had a moment here in which the very frequent exercise of First Amendment rights got hijacked by some people that wanted to do harm or were simply careless for their neighbors,” Hales said.
Hales also had a message for the rest of the country, who have seen Portland’s protests and riots.
“This is a wonderful city. One of the ways in which it is wonderful is that we are tolerant of each other. And tonight we need to get back to that,” he said. “We’re a proud liberal city.”