Portland Fines Federal Government for Illegal Fence Around Courthouse

Federal officers walk out in formation to launch tear gas at demonstrators during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

A large fence erected to protect the federal courthouse in Portland, Oregon, remains in place, but the city says it is illegal.

The city of Portland is imposing a $500 fine on the federal government for every 15 minutes the fence stays in place, the Associated Press reported.

The Oregonian reported that the fence was erected in the public’s right-of-way without a permit around the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse.

As of noon on Wednesday, the fine climbed up to $584,000.

“The fence is currently still in place,” Margaux Weeke, spokesperson for City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, said Tuesday. “I’d have to refer you to the federal government for their rationale as to why the fence is still obstructing our traveling lane.”

Back in July, the city’s transportation bureau sent a cease-and-desist letter to the federal government but received no response, KATU reported.

The transportation department says the fence is illegal because it is blocking “one of the busiest bike routes in the country.”

It is unclear why the city is not removing the fence now that most federal law enforcement officers have left town.

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