Massive Protests in Portland Continue After Judge Denies State Request for Restraining Order Against Federal Agencies

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer at CommonDreams. Originally published at CommonDreams

After a U.S. district judge on Friday denied the Oregon attorney general’s request for a temporary restraining order against federal agencies, officers deployed to Portland by President Donald Trump dispensed tear gas and fired impact munitions as the thousands of protesters gathered in the city until early Saturday for ongoing demonstrations against police brutality.

Friday night featured one of the largest crowds since the Portland protests kicked off in late May, with at least 4,000 people in the streets, according to The Oregonian.

The night started with a rally on the steps of the downtown jail next to the federal courthouse on Southwest Third Avenue. A parade of vehicles, many adorned with Black Lives Matter decorations, circled around the area. The drivers honked the car horns in rhythm with the crowd’s “Black Lives Matter” chant.

The large crowd expanded after 9 p.m. when a march from the waterfront arrived. Many marchers wore distinct colors tied to specific professions or community groups. Social workers wore green. Dining industry workers wore chef coats. Healthcare workers wore blue. Groups of parents, who started the collective attire trend nearly a week ago, wore yellow and orange.

Participants in the city’s Friday night events included members of the groups Healthcare Workers Protest, Teachers Against Tyrants, Lawyers for Black Lives, the “Wall of Moms,” and a new “Wall of Vets.” Backed by the beat of drums, the demonstrators chanted “Black Lives Matter” and “Feds go home.”

Early Saturday, The Oregonian reported, fireworks were set off from a crowd near the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, “the site of repeated overnight confrontations between federal officers embedded inside and demonstrators gathered outside.”

In recent days, as President Donald Trump has threatened to deploy federal agents to other major U.S. cities and actually sent a tactical team to Seattle, the conduct of the president’s “secret police” in Portland has drawn intense condemnation on a national scale and provoked multiple lawsuits.

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman weighed in on one of those cases late Friday, denying Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Federal Protection Service and their agents.

In response to reports of unidentified federal agents in unmarked vehicles snatching people off the streets of Portland, the state’s suit asked the judge to force the federal officers to identify themselves and their agencies before arresting or detaining anyone in the city, and to prohibit detentions or arrests without a warrant or probable cause.

Mosman wrote in a 14-page ruling (pdf) that although the suit “involves allegations of harm done to protesters by law enforcement, no protester is a plaintiff here,” and “it is not seeking redress for any harm that has been done to protesters. Instead, it seeks an injunction against future conduct, which is also an extraordinary form of relief.”

The judge ultimately determined that the state failed to show that it has standing to bring the case and denied the TRO request.

According to The Associated Press:

Legal experts who reviewed the case before the decision warned that the judge could reject it on those grounds. A lawsuit from a person accusing federal agents of violating their rights to free speech or against unconstitutional search and seizure would have a much higher chance of success, Michael Dorf, a constitutional law professor at Cornell University, said ahead of the ruling.

“The federal government acted in violation of those individuals’ rights and probably acted in violation of the Constitution in the sense of exercising powers that are reserved to the states, but just because the federal government acts in ways that overstep its authority doesn’t mean the state has an injury,” he said.

Rosenblum responded in a statement Friday that expressed her disappointment with the decision but also noted that “in last Wednesday’s two-hour hearing, the judge expressed concern with the legality of the federal law enforcement tactics we are seeking to stop.”

While today the court declined to issue an immediate order putting a stop to those tactics, we are, nevertheless, hopeful these abuses will stop and no other Oregonians will be subject to them or to the chilling effect they have on the right to engage in peaceful protest,” Rosenblum said.

The attorney general added that while she respects Mosman, “I would ask this question: If the state of Oregon does not have standing to prevent this unconstitutional conduct by unidentified federal agents running roughshod over her citizens, who does?”

“Individuals mistreated by these federal agents can sue for damages, but they can’t get a judge to restrain this unlawful conduct more generally,” she said. “Today’s ruling suggests that there may be no recourse on behalf of our state, and if so that is extremely troubling.”

The ACLU, which was not part of the state case but is involved in multiple other legal challenges related to the conditions in Portland, also expressed disappointment with Mosman’s denial.

“While the decision in the state’s lawsuit is disappointing, federal agents should not for a minute think their unconstitutional actions will go unanswered,” said Jann Carson, interim executive director of the ACLU of Oregon. “The ACLU will be in court again to hold federal agents accountable for their unconstitutional attacks on the right to protest.”

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82 comments

  1. Cocomaan

    Where do I go when I hate the deployment of federal troops and also hate the protestors? Because violence this weekend also included a child pornographer stalking and stabbing a black conservative.

    The worst elements of our society are being let out to play and those in the middle of the two extremes are asked to provide excuses for their behavior.

    Reply
      1. workingclasshero

        Hey antifascist.do you people know what you’re doing?i bet you think you do.but you,i believe don’t.

        Reply
      2. clarky90

        A Counter Revolutionary!

        The USA had a good revolution 244 years ago. The Constitution, Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence.

        Many many peasants, workers, and middle class lives were lost making that Original Revolution. The Peasants Revolt, The Magna Carta….

        Much of USA history is about the wreckers, the plotters, the monarchists, the foreign agents, the big money powers …..maneuvering to “counter” (undo) the 1776 USAian Revolution. (Ka ching)

        Imo, much of what ails the USA could be fixed by actually, just enforcing existing laws (monopolies, price fixing, transparency, equal justice…..)

        When I was a young hippie, I lived on a few communes. They ALWAYS ended up having “police”, leaders, rules, boarders……no exceptions.

        Read the history of the Baltic States in the 20th Century for a taste of 50 years (1940-1990) of non-democratic revolutionary mayhem.

        In 1940, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia were subsumed by the USSR, who imprisoned, deported or killed the middle class, kulaks… (being in the PTA was a justification….).

        In 1941, the Nazis invaded and killed all “collaborators”, leftists and Jews. In 1944 The USSR re-invaded and continued the suppression that they had initiated in 1940…

        You do not want to be ruled by non-democratic “revolutionary” forces from The Left or The Right.

        If you have ever expressed any political opinion about anything, either the left Revolutionaries or the right revolutionaries are going to be offended, and want to “liquidate” you. Bad news…

        Reply
        1. occasional anonymous

          The Magna Carta wasn’t a people’s revolution. It was the nobility coming together to restrain the power of the king, where was to the detriment of the common people as the monarch acted as something of a counterbalance.

          Reply
    1. Charles Morgan

      ‘Hate the protesters”?? Your middle ground is a coward’s spot, where you can justify feeling appalled while others risk tear gassing toexpress their rage at a militarized government, systemic racism, destructive capitalism, etc. Please, go back to your Times and coffee, and leave the comments, and thinking, to those who from experience know that the middle ground is nowhere land.

      Reply
    2. Edward

      You judge the protests on the basis of one person you dislike? Who gets to decide who the worst elements of our society are? Maybe these “worst elements” are high status bankers, billionaires, and politicians, and not lowly citizens?

      Reply
    3. Massinissa

      Er. What does that one dude stabbing one other dude even have anything to do with the protests? That sort of thing happens even in normal times. Even if it is related, of the thousands of protesters, one dude who is barely related to them and clearly is mentally ill harming someone, does that automatically discredit what the other thousands of people who are NOT harming people are doing?

      Reply
      1. george

        That ship has long sailed. Policing who belongs here and who doesn’t has always taken place well within our borders, and modern technology makes it that much easier. Bend? how about Chicago.

        Reply
    4. TimH

      Move further inline than 100 miles from a border. CBP doesn’t have any jurisdiction under their own interpretation of ‘border limit’.Portland and Eugene, OR don’t cut it, but Bend does.

      Reply
      1. Mike Allen

        This has me confused. To which 100 mile border do they refer? The coast? The border with Washington? I assumed the use of the Fedral border patrol would necessitate a international border.

        Reply
        1. Terence Dodge

          Mr Allen

          100 miles of a Federal Border.There is some fudge factor as the Border is not straight in coastal areas, so inland and add 25-50 miles and you should then only encounter the “regular” armed social workers employed by various acronyms.

          Terence

          Reply
          1. ambrit

            The “border” area also includes ‘International Ports,’ such as major airports. Just about anywhere in America one would want.

            Reply
          1. Mike Allen

            Thank you all for the clarification. Figured it was the coast, but even that depends on where you draw your lines. Most of the coast is a hundred plus miles from here in Portland.

            Reply
          2. juno mas

            The physical coastline is not the US International border. Over the life of the US, sovereign control has been incrementally extend seaward. First by 12 nm (nautical miles) and then 24 nm. Innocent international shipping is allowed in these waters but Customs officials are permitted to board. Ronald Reagan extended this sovereign control zone (it was called an Exclusive Economic Zone) to 200 nm.

            So, it seems the federal agents are well away from the claimed border of the US. They should go back to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              Do not opine when you have not done you homework. That’s agnotology, a violation of site rules.

              The definition is “external boundary” and that means coasts:

              Even in places far removed from the border, deep into the interior of the country, immigration officials enjoy broad—though not limitless—powers. Specifically, federal regulations give U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authority to operate within 100 miles of any U.S. “external boundary.”

              https://www.aclu.org/other/constitution-100-mile-border-zone

              The ACLU contends that the Constitution still applies, but I know of no case where anyone entering the US has successfully challenged CBP searches and seizures of electronic devices without a warrant.

              Reply
    5. CarlH

      Did you not read about the Moms and Dads, nurses, veterans, etc. that made up these protests? You sound keen to throw away the baby with the bathwater, which I have been told is not a great idea.

      Reply
      1. cocomaan

        Isn’t that exactly what people are doing with the police? ACAB and all?

        I don’t find what’s going on in Portland particularly compelling. Protestors need to police their own. You cannot protest from 9-5 and then abandon the street to anarchists in the evenings without it painting your entire movement.

        That goes for cops and it goes for protestors. You want to be part of a movement? Stay on the streets after dark and see what kind of awful stuff emerges.

        Reply
        1. juno mas

          Well, to Portlanders the “awful stuff” is unidentified federal agents in military ‘camo’ outfits detaining protesters outside of legal protocol, gassing them, and generally playing a surrogate role for Trump. As you can see, the mix of protesters is growing not diminishing. More troops or or tear gas is not going to resolve this matter. Portlanders are astute protesters, when the troops leave the graffiti (violence?) will likely dimish, if not stop.

          In typical US military fashion, Trump should order a retreat and declare “Mission Accomplished” (Victory).

          Reply
          1. cocomaan

            That I can’t disagree with, federal troops, whether in uniform or not, NEVER deescalate a situation.

            Reply
    6. richard

      why on earth would you hate them? hate us?
      you pick one anecdote to trash tens of thousands of people
      they rep a CLEAR majority, the whole city
      and somehow they are the “radical” ones?
      one of your two horseshoe extremes?
      get your vision checked, seriously

      Reply
  2. timbers

    This is starting to remind me of Occupy Wall Street. What do they want? Why no policy advocacy that would improve the their lives like Medicare for all? Parading around in social identity uniforms doesn’t seem logical and leaves me stone cold.

    And why are the Feds so bugged out about people parading around in social identity uniforms? Who cares? Let them do it. The bars are closed, after all.

    Finally the No Standing Monkey appears again. He certainly gets around. The Feds – who have no standing – have standing. The local governments – who have standing – have no standing.

    This judge should nominated to the Supreme Court.

    Reply
    1. marym

      The policy advocacy of the original protest was for less police violence toward black people and more accountability. The protest now is against anonymous armed agents of the state sent to suppress protest. The identity “walls” aren’t promoting identity issues. They’re communicating that different groups are aligned around a specific issue. A harsh world, if the standing monkey keeps the people out of the courts and the standing “army” keeps them out of the streets.

      Reply
      1. Carolinian

        I can’t claim to know much about Portland as I’ve only been there once and so long ago I don’t remember it. But I do know somebody who regularly goes there on business and in 2016 she was trapped in her hotel as rampaging groups passed through downtown breaking windows including those of her hotel. Their grievance: Trump had been elected.

        From a P.R.standpoint it’s useful to pretend this all about “moms” or “vets” but as stated above when the protests become about reaction to the protests then you do have to wonder where is the leadership and what are the goals. If the real goal is “regime change” they may very well get what they want but that won’t stop some of us from questioning how they went about it.

        Democracy is how controversies are supposed to be resolved in the US but our political system is so sclerotic that most of the people in charge seem more likely candidates for a retirement home (in the current Dem case literally). In another world young people turned out en masse at a Democratic convention and showed their displeasure. Now they hurl firecrackers at buildings.

        Reply
        1. JWP

          How does 2016 protest have anything to do with the one today? Were trump to be reelected, I expect to see similar violence. Being at these protests, they are partially BLM and partially about federal occupation. People have their kids, grandparents, etc. Its true solidarity and later in the night, people throw some fireworks and water bottles. The media per usual has portrayed this horribly.

          Young people at the DNC is not going to change anything, the party elites take policy from their donors not an unreliable voting bloc. . As the US devolves into a socially broken and economically devastated country, unrest and protests such as these are the norm. It’s good to see the ones in Portland have the feel of solidarity and community that many others lack.

          Reply
          1. Dirk77

            I agree mostly. Yet in my limited experience in Portland, but also hearing from family who live there, protesting is a hobby for many there. Now add in all the newly unemployed with nothing better to do in summer. And you get people who were probably overjoyed when the feds rolled in. And on the other side, the feds are just using laws passed during the Bush II and especially Obama years. Since the ACLU gave up challenging the constitutionality of those laws, naturally a federal judge is going to dismiss this lawsuit. But of course everything is a big deal if Trump is doing it. In other news, for things that really matter, my corporate masters assure me everything is going as planned, so there is that.

            Reply
          2. Carolinian

            Well I wasn’t too pleased when George W. Bush was (s)elected but didn’t feel the urge to go bust up the downtown. Much of what’s gone on and dismissed by supporters as “only natural” strikes me as not that.

            Reply
            1. furies

              Ya know, when people are pushed to the wall year after year, their dignity assaulted at every encounter with officialdom, this is what you get.

              Palestinians.

              Cuz property is more important than people’s lives, right?

              Reply
                1. furies

                  once again

                  “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

                  We may not be ‘Palestinians’ in actual truth, but the same oppression is quite apparent to anyone one living on less than 20,000 a year. Like I do.

                  I’ve been waiting for years to see people in the streets!

                  Reply
      2. Dirk77

        Marym, what you say seems to jibe with a Portland relative I asked. That said, she was critical about the lack of concrete purpose of the BLM protests downtown. There has been no transition to sitting down with TPTB and negotiating demands. She can’t figure out if it’s due to a lack of a leader or what. Then the feds roll in and now it’s all about them leaving. Which is a concrete goal, but is it a step forward?

        Reply
        1. marym

          My comment was based on reports from BLM protests in general, and the current Portland protest against the federal escalation, not first hand knowledge of Portland. This is interesting from OPB today – it includes a number of different perspectives on the protests.

          https://www.opb.org/news/article/more-federal-officers-deploying-portland/

          Here’s an on-going twitter thread tracking how “cities & city officials respond to BLM & change their policies.” Currently 44 tweets. #4 is from Portland.

          https://twitter.com/Taniel/status/1270126503083327494

          I think protesting the feds is a step that had to be taken to protect the right to further protests, and will also make the feds see pursuing this escalation in other cities as more problematic.

          Reply
          1. Dirk77

            The opb article was interesting. I hadn’t realized “their” demand was to defund the police. I put the quotes in bc with no leader it’s hard to say if there is any consensus among the protestors apart from “bringing awareness to the problem” as I was told the last time I was in town.

            Reply
      1. Merf56

        In any civilized rational society this judge couldn’t get a job as dog catcher. But we live in Amerika so.. he probably will be on the SC shortly.

        Reply
    2. Oh

      I admire the protestors in Portland. I wish we all could be there and help them. In the case of the crooked judge who says “no standing”, he needs the Al Pacino treatment:

      https://youtu.be/sA0glbG6c-8

      I’m not sure that the AG who brought the lawsuit was making it look like she was on the side of the people.

      Reply
      1. Sue inSoCal

        Thank you, Oh. That’s a classic.

        The judge’s decision in the Portland case was pure jabberwocky. No standing for…Portland? Well alrighty. Got me scratching my head on that one.

        Fwiw, I understand the point of where they’re protesting. But can they make is a bit simpler by getting out of the way of Federal property? Doing so could make Trump’s claims look as specious as they are and make DHS look like idiots. Need to stop this – NOW.

        Reply
    1. Rory

      Can the Philadelphia DA count on the Philadelphia police to back him up and apprehend and arrest armed and armored Federal officers during a protest? One has to wonder.

      Reply
  3. Shiloh1

    Feds have no jurisdiction there. Leave it to the states / governors. If the cities / mayors are derelict, then it’s on them. Let the citizens of those states decide, in their own ways.

    That the governor of Illinois hides out in his Lake Geneva Wisconsin estate and the mayor of Chicago does the same every weekend in New Buffalo Michigan is reasonable, as there have been about 50 shooting victims in Chicago so far this weekend, none of them protest or statue related.

    Reply
          1. timbers

            They don’t do arrests or paper work they disapear you. They have been many reports of the Feds far away from Federal property, but confess I r follow this closely.

            Reply
            1. Roberto

              Here’s their summary…
              In sum, we rate this claim a “Mixture” of truth, falsehood and unproven information — yes, the president ordered federal officers to Portland during protests in summer 2020, and at least some of those agents used unmarked vehicles, though no verifiable evidence showed they “kidnapped” people under the legal definition of the term, nor that they did not identify themselves as law enforcement during the apprehensions.

              Reply
          2. martell

            I thought the Lawfare article in today’s Links was clear about this. Kris Cline, Director of the Federal Protective Service, inadvertently admitted that federal agents violated the 4th Amendment. He claimed that the abduction captured on video was not a “custodial arrest,” and so it was not an arrest, and so it was perfectly legal. But our laws say otherwise, if you consider both the Amendment itself and subsequent rulings. Whether or not someone is “booked,” forcibly putting someone in a van and then taking that person to a law enforcement facility for questioning is an arrest and requires probable cause. There was no probable cause in this instance. Cline said as much. Therefore, it was an illegal action on the part of federal agents.

            Reply
            1. Yves Smith

              I guarantee Lawfare is not working off the right legal theory. Any border area is a Constitution free zone. That is why Border Patrol agents can seize and inspect phones and laptops without a warrant. I am highly confident the Feds will argue they are operating in Constitution-free zone by being within 100 miles of the border (which you can define either as the Oregon Coast or the Portland airport, if it has customs checks).

              Reply
              1. JBird4049

                From what I understand, legally, you are correct; according to the Supreme Court the border area is a Constitution free zone. What of it? I would say that perhaps Lawfare is using the right legal theory, but that the Supreme Court is in the wrong.

                After all, qualified immunity and civil asset forfeiture are ultimately the creations of the Supreme Court. It’s been done in a matter of believe us instead of your lying eyes, what’s written in black and white in the Constitution or the preceding few centuries of precedents. I could also add what the Founders themselves wrote when they debated the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

                At some point, you have to speak the truth or go insane. My sanity is tattered enough as it is. It might be accepted as legal because of the legal rationalization, but that does not make it not a lie, or truly make it Constitutional.

                Reply
              2. Dwight

                Wouldn’t they have to be enforcing customs or immigration law for that to be the case? Here they have been assigned to protect federal property, and that border exception shouldn’t apply.

                Reply
                1. Yves Smith

                  As I said above, the Feds routinely search and seize electronic devices at the border, particularly of journalists. I know of no successful legal challenge. They also routinely illegally detain journalists (8 hours appears to be a common limit), but eventually let them in, since there is no legal basis for denying a US citizen with a valid passport re-entry into the US.

                  Reply
    1. Billy

      Vandalizing, to and including massive spraypainting, smashing everything and setting fires at federal courthouses, is supposed to not be anything more than a local crime, enforced by local police, according to some local officials.

      So, how come when a black man hangs up some loops of rope in an exercise area in Oakland, or some tagger spray paints a swastika on a wall, the same decriers of federal excess, demand the FBI show up and fully investigate then arrest the perpetrators under federal law? –Got hypocrisy?

      Reply
        1. richard

          yes, no question
          and also, vandalizing any property should not be a crime that calls for feebee attention, or sends me to prison for that matter, if the vandalizing is entirely symbolic
          i.e. vandalizing a monument, as opposed to a business or city office that provides a service
          especially at this moment, we should be careful not to normalize the 1922 Italy type things we see. even if they’re legal. no, especially if they’re legal.

          Reply
  4. Edward

    What happens if the state decides to arrest the people who some describe as “federal agents’, but who present no identification, and who are kidnapping people? As far as I can tell, they are breaking the law. Could it be legal for the state to arrest these people, but for the state to lack standing to block this activity in the courts?

    Reply
  5. Pelham

    The Minneapolis newspaper, which is generally sympathetic to the protesters, recently added up the damage to stores and other properties there and the toll was enormous.

    Portland may be different, but if the violence is largely confined to confrontations between the protesters and federal agents, the damage to local properties should be minimal. Is that the case? If it isn’t, then we should get that side of the story as well as it would cast a different light on the presence of federal forces who are ostensibly trying (and apparently failing) to restore order after nearly two months of unrest.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      This begs the main question here; who is doing the destruction, and why? It will not be simple or straightforward. People do all sorts of ‘stupid’ stuff when irrational, and thus manipulable. (Look closely at the ‘demonstrating’ crowds. You probably will find numerous ‘agents provocateurs.’)
      I have read several times now the statement that the demonstrations were dying down before the Federal forces intervened, then the level of violence picked up. Cause and effect, anyone?
      This is a perfect nursery for Cynics.
      One can never be too cynical in regard to American politics.

      Reply
      1. Dwight

        The black-clad men and women destroying federal courthouse windows with impunity in LA yesterday seem suspicious to me. Why weren’t they arrested? A well-trained federal police force could legally and legitimately arrest them and use force if they resisted. Why is this being allowed?

        Reply
    2. diptherio

      Ah yes, “restoring order” with tear gas and baton beatings.

      Maybe they could try defunding the police department and putting them under meaningful community control. That would “restore order” much more surely than sending in the violent bullies.

      Reply
    3. JWP

      No damage besides spray paint. All businesses are boarded up and closed, the only “damage” would be lost revenues. It seems “restoring order” has become the justice system’s version of “jobs” where it sounds nice but has zero practical meaning. if the feds left, there would be order.

      Reply
    4. occasional anonymous

      The protests in Portland were waning before Trump called in his federal thugs. That revitalized and supercharged the demonstrations, whose focus then shifted to the Hatfield courthouse. Virtually everything is currently going on in a handful of blocks near Pioneer Courthouse Square. The rest of the city is functioning completely normally (or whatever is normal in covid times), and the confrontations with police happen almost entirely at night.

      The city is not remotely a ‘warzone’ like the right-wing keeps claiming, nor has there been some vast amount of damage to businesses.

      Reply
  6. allan

    1. Acting Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli posts on his official feed
    a video from `inside the perimeter’ by a well-known right wing propagandist
    who for some reason was allowed to film where no actual journalists are allowed.

    2. Triggering a Proustian memory that at one point during OWS,
    Fox News had a live feed that could only have been coming from a high floor of NYPD headquarters,
    where no actual journalists were allowed.

    3. In what is surely completely unrelated news, Trump officials admit off the record that they are
    sending federal troops into cities in order to create “viral content”.

    Your furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war.

    Reply
  7. Kris Alman

    The judge is a Bush II appointee.

    Standing or not, it’s hard to know how this will all end when federal goons start their traveling show to more D cities to “protect” their property.

    The feds have standing of course! Property rights, ya’ know! “Property is the foundation of every right we have, including the right to be free… The two public powers most often at issue in the property rights context are the police power — the power of government mainly to secure rights — and the power of eminent domain — the power to take property for public use upon payment of just compensation, as set forth, by implication, in the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause.”
    https://www.cato.org/cato-handbook-policymakers/cato-handbook-policy-makers-8th-edition-2017/property-rights-constitution

    The federal government owns a park across from a federal building, where they may hide and lie in wait. It’s right next to the Justice Center, owned by Multnomah County. They (presumably local jurisdiction because it’s on local property across from the Justice Center) recently put short poles in the ground to slow down and injure more down people who would fall, disoriented in the fog of tear gas and pepper spray. Protestors have put plush toys on top of them to make them more noticeable and soften the blow.

    The staging of the evening and escalations are rinse and repeat, night after night. Almost a festive atmosphere with Riot Ribs feeding the protestors and houseless for any donation or nothing at all. Speakers. Marchers. Some parents come with young kids! Local restaurants donate pizza. Tons of coolers with donated food, with an army of volunteers. Medics nearby. Mostly millenials. The grills keep on feeding even after the tear gas starts. This is generally around 11:30 or so after an unlawful assembly is declared. Then the thunderous flash bangs that sound like lighting is striking right next to you.

    For people living downtown, it must be disruptive at nighttime, especially if you don’t have A.C. Tonight is going to hover in the high 90s. Businesses closer to the epicenter of the protests are boarded up. Many businesses closed, but that is also Covid relate.

    Craziness far beyond the Occupy days!

    Reply
    1. Billy

      “Property rights, ya’ know! “Property is the foundation of every right we have, including the right to be free…”
      Mock that all you want, but don’t then decry the horrors of alleged redlining and depriving black people of the bounty of American capitalism.
      Got hypocrisy?

      Reply
  8. GERMO

    The liberal non-reactionary media is giving a lot of attention to the theme of the protests being hijacked or straying from the original meaning. The president of the Portland chapter of the NAACP is being quoted, locally and internationally, to that effect. The intended audience of this theme is the imagined centrist or liberal who is looking for a reason to withhold support for the movement for Black lives, the movement that challenges the status quo in which the comfortable will remain so.
    The co-opting of the movement seems overstated as virtually no-one, and certainly no organized trend, is trying to wrest control away from Black leadership. There’s division about anti-capitalism, but the media are all pro-capitalism, and where the movement and the protests converge with anti-capitalism this will generally be seized on as “straying from the original intent” of the George Floyd movement. I was down there last night with members of my union and other unions. What I could see, there’s very little actual reason to believe this protest is really something other than thousands of young people super angry about racism and racist cops and the system in which those things are quite arguably an integral feature. Yes in a protest of thousands there are probably some unhinged individuals. They aren’t central to what’s happening.

    The more opportunistic of the vandals and/or provocateurs are unavoidable. But what can be avoided is overreacting. The moment is tense and alarming, and it’s instinctive for many to want to get to a place where those challenging feelings subside, where reason and balance and thoughtfulness rule. And that means that what we’re seeing is a liberal class figuring out a way to think about the BLM movement that lets them off the hook

    Reply
  9. David in Santa Cruz

    This deployment of federal troops, using equipment and strategies developed to fight uprisings in Fallujah, Mosul, and Baghdad, is abhorrent. It is equally abhorrent that the Obama administration expanded Shrub’s so-called “Patriot Act” in the same vague manner as Obama’s drone assassination program to give broad discretion to unaccountable federal officials. None of the “Homeland Security” leadership have been confirmed by the Senate and don’t have legal, law enforcement, or military training or experience. They hire “contractors” who aren’t defenders of the constitution or the public to do their dirty work.

    In California, since 2018 we have banned many of these federal agencies from exercising the power of arrest, and Trump’s goon-squads would be the criminals:

    California Penal Code sec. 830.85 Notwithstanding any other law, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and United States Customs and Border Protection officers are not California peace officers.

    However, Portland Oregon is an odd place, coined by Portlandia as “Where Young People Go to Retire.” I was sent there about a decade ago to study disproportionate treatment of minority groups.

    What I learned is that Portland is 80.5% white and has a tiny, physically isolated, Black community who make up but 2.9% of the population. This disparity is largely the legacy of the Oregon Black Exclusion Laws, which made it a crime for Black people to live in the state of Oregon and which were only removed from the Oregon constitution in 1926.

    This is why it is so difficult to discern a Person of Color among the demonstrators being gassed, clubbed, and shot by Trump’s thug-army. Portlandia seems tailor-made for Trump’s “Antifa” meme. The demonstrators, and the tiny minority of window-smashers and spray-taggers among them, may be chanting that #blacklivesmatter, but ironically they have chosen to live in one of the most unwelcoming and apartheid cities in America. I suspect that their movement has more to do with COVID-angst than it does with empathy for an oppressed minority.

    Reply
    1. JBird4049

      >>>I suspect that their movement has more to do with COVID-angst than it does with empathy for an oppressed minority.

      Probably, but seeing George Floyd so dispassionately murdered with less emotion one shows in killing a deer is also probably a cause as well. Add that the local police are violent even for modern times with no effective accountability.

      Reply
  10. Scott1

    The United States is not a finished experiment. It was founded on a vision that became a shared vision of all the kings powers held in the hands of all of the people.

    It is through inheritance, usurpation, & vision that one becomes the king. The vision has been inherited.

    During war the bystanders, those who seek to be uninvolved or want to limit their involvement to support and pandering to the winner. We want to look down on the bystanders since there is honor in feeling so much that one and together that we must stand up to the lawless usurpers.

    The Trump Donny John administration is marked by its existence as organized crime. There is the law and the spirit of the law.

    What a gyration of the judge to say that there has to be an individual there who was disappeared for the case to be adjudicated in the favor of the State’s argument. These are the trick laws and depart from the spirit of the law. Law in the US spirit.

    During the Revolutionary War the German Hessian mercenaries looted from the homes of those who were Loyalists as much as they did from the homes of the Revolutionaries.

    Over and above us all there are the parasitical pirates who use the laws we defend to loot our treasury as they loot whatever else is not tied down.

    We have a right to protest. We have a right to protest being murdered. We have a right to protest usurpation. We have a need to see and feel fire. There have been made too many mistakes and too many of us have been made to die. Our temporary king is the leader of a criminal organization. His greatest desire is to steal all the land of our post office. The Franklin vision of post roads and post offices is the civil vision of a united nation that is more than real estate.

    Reply
  11. Vichy Chicago

    In the words of the Chicago Mayor Richard J Daley, 1968:
    “The policeman is not here to create disorder. The policeman is here to preserve disorder.”

    Reply
  12. Tom Bradford

    To misquote Martin Niemoller:

    First they came for the blacks, and I didn’t protest because I was not black.

    They they came for those who did protest their coming for the blacks, and I did not protest as I was not a protester.

    Then they came for me, and no-one could be bothered to protest on my behalf.

    Reply
  13. flora

    With the end of rent/mortgage forbearance coming soon, and the likelihood of foreclosures and evictions creating millions of new homeless people in the middle of a pandemic, is it too cynical to think DC is deliberately using Portland for “practice”? It was the arrival of the feds that escalated Portland’s protests.

    Yeah, too cynical. Sorry.

    Reply
    1. JWP

      might not be too far off, but the connection i’m about to make might be as cynical as yours. Homeless populations have taken off and there are tents and tarp homes everywhere in the city, and this is before the evictions start. It’s very easy for some of the federal troops to cooperate with the local police in the homeless “cleanups” that have been announced to resume soon. BTW its legal for feds to enforce local laws in oregon. The real question becomes, where do they take the homeless??

      Reply
      1. Phil in KC

        “They” don’t necessarily have to take the homeless anywhere–just keep them moving along, as depicted in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. Unemployed and hungry people tend not to just plop down someplace unless they are sick or immobile. Anecdote: my uncle tells me that during the Great Depression, men would walk along the shoulders of US Highway 71 between Kansas City and St. Joseph for something to do and hope that something might turn up, even if only a stray chicken, which would be turned into a dinner. My grandfather kept a close watch on his livestock as his farm bordered the highway.

        Others hopped freight trains and rode the rails in search of something better.

        Reply
  14. Gerry

    It’s ok Americans. Daddy biden is coming to end all your problems. Don’t worry! Just a few more months! I’m sure his brilliant mind that you so enthusiastically voted for has already thought of a million strategies. 😆

    Reply

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