Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Portland explodes in violence again as hundreds of protesters attempt to set up an autonomous zone and reclaim home that was sold by black family to pay legal fees when son was arrested

 Protesters outraged with at least a dozen arrests at a home where a family was removed in September hurled rocks at officers, sprayed a fire extinguisher at them and damaged police vehicles on Tuesday.

The violence happened in broad daylight, and by evening, Mayor Ted Wheeler sent out a statement saying he was authorizing Portland Police 'to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation ... There will be no autonomous zone in Portland.'

'It's time for the encampment and occupation to end,' Wheeler said in a statement that also acknowledged the issues the protesters want to fix, such as housing and health care. 


Protesters who have camped for months to prevent a Black and Indigenous family from being forced to leave a home took the property back on Tuesday] after morning clashes with police

Protesters who have camped for months to prevent a Black and Indigenous family from being forced to leave a home took the property back on Tuesday] after morning clashes with police

The house had belonged to the Kinney family, a member of whom is pictured above. The Kinneys paid off their house but took out a new mortgage to pay defense lawyers after a family member was arrested in 2002. The house went into foreclosure and was sold to a developer at a 2018 auction

The house had belonged to the Kinney family, a member of whom is pictured above. The Kinneys paid off their house but took out a new mortgage to pay defense lawyers after a family member was arrested in 2002. The house went into foreclosure and was sold to a developer at a 2018 auction

The home on North Mississippi Avenue in Portland, Oregon is where protesters have camped to prevent a Black and Indigenous family from being forced to leave has been dubbed the 'Red House on Mississippi'

The home on North Mississippi Avenue in Portland, Oregon is where protesters have camped to prevent a Black and Indigenous family from being forced to leave has been dubbed the 'Red House on Mississippi'

Police arrested at least a dozen people outside the house on Tuesday

Police arrested at least a dozen people outside the house on Tuesday

'There are many ways to protest and work toward needed reform. Illegally occupying private property, openly carrying weapons, threatening and intimidating people are not among them.'

The clash fits into a larger debate roiling in Oregon about whether state lawmakers should extend a pandemic-inspired moratorium on evictions that's set to expire within weeks. 

Federal renter protections are also set to expire on December 31 and housing advocates are worried that an end to those policies could lead to a huge wave of the newly homeless.

Portland has been the epicenter of protests in 2020, many involving violent clashes between officers and demonstrators, ever since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. 

There were at least 200 nights of demonstrations including 30 nights of rioting and around 1,000 arrests.

But most happen at night, making the daytime protest a rare occurrence.

The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, said that he was forbidding another 'autonomous zone' from being set up around the Red House

The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, said that he was forbidding another 'autonomous zone' from being set up around the Red House

Protesters who have camped for months to prevent a black and indigenous family from being forced to leave their longtime North Mississippi Avenue home took the property back Tuesday

Protesters who have camped for months to prevent a black and indigenous family from being forced to leave their longtime North Mississippi Avenue home took the property back Tuesday

The confrontation began at about 5am when law enforcement officers arrived at the home to allow the new owners to erect fencing and board up the house

The confrontation began at about 5am when law enforcement officers arrived at the home to allow the new owners to erect fencing and board up the house

A group of activists for months have camped at the home dubbed 'Red House on Mississippi' because it is on North Mississippi Avenue - to express their outrage against gentrification and the eviction of the black and Indigenous family in September.

The Oregonian reported that the house had belonged to the Kinney family since the 1950s, according to the website for the Red House on Mississippi group protesting the eviction.

The Kinneys paid off their house but took out a new mortgage to pay defense lawyers after their son, their son, William III was sent to prison at the age of 17 for an automobile accident. 

In hopes of saving their child from the brutality of the prison system, the family took out a loan against their home to pay for costly legal fees.

William III ultimately sent to prison in 2002 for two five-year sentences, totaling 10 years, the Red House on the Mississippi group has said.

The house went into foreclosure and was sold to a developer at a 2018 auction, according to the group.

The family argued in court that the eviction moratorium in place until the New Year should apply to their case, but a judge in September found it did not apply because their struggles began before the pandemic struck.

The family set up a GoFundMe group to try and raise $250,000 to re-purchase the home.  

The crowd swelled to about 200 people, and violent clashes ensued. Law enforcement ultimately retreated as police vehicles were damaged, including at least one window smashed

The crowd swelled to about 200 people, and violent clashes ensued. Law enforcement ultimately retreated as police vehicles were damaged, including at least one window smashed

A protester holds up a sign during a demonstration to prevent a family from being forced to leave their home

A protester holds up a sign during a demonstration to prevent a family from being forced to leave their home

Police made its arrests both outside the house and inside the red home

Police made its arrests both outside the house and inside the red home 

The area in which the house is located, which historically was a black residential neighborhood, has gentrified in the past two decades

The area in which the house is located, which historically was a black residential neighborhood, has gentrified in the past two decades

The property's owner complained that people were trespassing and officers showed up before dawn and made the arrests. TV images showed the clashes Tuesday morning.

Following the arrests and the clashes, protesters Tuesday afternoon used power tools to set up a barricade with wire fencing, debris and wood pallets to block off street access to the house. The demonstrators also hung signs saying 'Stop the Foreclosures' and 'No Jurisdiction.'

Police in their statement said authorities between September and November received at least 81 calls about the property - including reports of fights, shots fired, burglary, thefts, vandalism, noise violations, trespassing, threats and illegally blocking traffic, sidewalks and access to homes.

Police blocked streets and sidewalks around the property to help sheriff's deputies get the people off of the property, a police statement said.

One of the people at the property had a gun and was taken into custody and officers also found more guns on the property, the statement said.

Officers stood guard while the house was boarded up and the fence was erected only to be dismantled by the protesters to help create their barricade.

Portland has been the epicenter of protests in 2020 with at least 200 nights of demonstrations, 30 nights of rioting and around 1,000 arrests. (File photo from July)

Portland has been the epicenter of protests in 2020 with at least 200 nights of demonstrations, 30 nights of rioting and around 1,000 arrests. (File photo from July)

A demonstrator waves a U.S. flags in front of federal agents after tear gas is deployed during a riot in Portland in July

A demonstrator waves a U.S. flags in front of federal agents after tear gas is deployed during a riot in Portland in July

Demonstrations and riots have been common sights throughout the second half of 2020

Demonstrations and riots have been common sights throughout the second half of 2020 

As police ordered the crowd, made up of a few dozen people, to disperse people yelled back expletives, 'Go home' and 'Get back.'

Police said that they used pepper spray after protesters threw rocks, paint-filled balloons at officers, broke a police vehicle window and deflated the vehicles' tires.

Six additional people were arrested during the incident, including for charges such as disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer and resisting arrest.

Officers left the area around 10am and it has since been barricaded and occupied by around 100 protesters, media outlets at the scene reported.

Portland police said on social media Tuesday afternoon that they are 'monitoring the situation.'

'People need to remove the barricades to allow the normal flow of traffic and for residents nearby to be allowed to come and go,' read a statement on the Portland Police Bureau's Twitter page. 'Continued criminal activity may result in arrests including the potential use of force.'

Post a comment

Start typing and press Enter to search