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Community leaders call for moratorium on violence, ask for conversation with protesters

“If you want to make change, if you are serious about change, then I’m begging you as a citizen of this city ... put down your need for violence.”

PORTLAND, Ore — After more than seven weeks of protesting and escalating tension between demonstrators and law enforcement, the Portland Police Association, along with representatives from the community, called for an end to destruction and called on protesters to meet with them to work toward a solution.

“If you care about Black lives, if you care about the community, if you care about your officers, if you care about your city, the only thing you need to do is make this stop,” Portland police union president Daryl Turner said.

Turner called out elected officials for condoning violence and chaos in Portland and not acting.

“This is no longer about George Floyd. This is no longer about racial equity or social justice. This is no longer about reform or the evolution of policing,” Turner said. “This is about violence, rioting, destruction, chaos, anarchy, buildings on fire, dumpsters on fire, broken glass and damaged businesses in Old Town, the Pearl, Northeast and North Portland.”

Faith leaders, business owners and community members joined Turner at the press conference.

The pastor of Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church, J.W. Matt Hennessee, called for a “moratorium on the streets” and issued an invitation to those setting fires, causing destruction and looting to meet with him and others to talk, be heard and look for solutions.

“If you want to make change, if you are serious about change, then I’m begging you as a citizen of this city ... put down your need for violence,” Hennessee said.

Turner, Hennessee and others spoke outside the union headquarters on North Lombard where a riot was declared Saturday night and the building was set on fire.

The demonstration was one of two gatherings Saturday night involving hundreds of people calling for police reform and an end to systemic racism. The other was outside the Multnomah County Justice Center in downtown Portland. The area has been the site of many clashes between protesters and law enforcement over the past seven weeks.

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