Portland Residents Worry as Protests Spread to Residential Neighborhoods

AP Photo/Nathan Howard
AP Photo/Nathan Howard

The streets of downtown Portland were quieter on Tuesday as nightly protests approach 80 consecutive nights of unrest but that is not because protesters are giving up. Instead, they are heading into residential areas, and people who live there are worried.

“The main action has shifted from downtown to residential neighborhoods on the east side of the Willamette River, bringing crowds of demonstrators and a heavy police force onto usually quiet nighttime streets,” the Oregonian newspaper’s online portal Oregon Live reported. “People who live and work in areas where protests have taken place are not happy.”

Riots were declared over the weekend and new concerns surfaced as protesters change locations, Oregon Live reported:

In downtown Kenton, protesters used wooden items, including picnic tables and road barrier signs, to build a barricade across Denver near Schofield Street. The standoff between police and demonstrators continued past midnight.

On Reddit and Facebook, people who live in the area expressed anger about property destruction.

“Lots of people worked hard to make our little neighborhood pleasant and to help the local businesses stay open,” wrote Redditor WheeblesWobble in a post called “Leave Kenton Alone!” “Now it’s trashed,” the user wrote. “This was not a BLM protest, this was a tantrum by a bunch of entitled kids.”

The person who made the post noted that a black-owned business was damaged when a dumpster was set on fire.

“What a dumpster has to do with Black Lives Matter, I don’t know,” James Bradley, the head chef at Po’Shines said in the Oregon Live report.

“If people want to protest, find your hands busy doing something for the people that you’re protesting for,” Bradley, who is black, said. “There’s a blueprint, and the blueprint is called the civil rights movement.”

Bradley called what happened in the Kenton neighborhood “tomfoolery.”

Billy Burch lives near the police union building, which has been targeted in riots, with his family.

“The violence and fires have definitely disturbed my family,” he said.“Having to close all of the windows so that tear gas doesn’t get in isn’t fun as we don’t have air conditioning.”

“Burch also said he didn’t think the current incarnation of protests supported the message of the Black Lives Matter movement,” Oregon Live reported. “And he associates the ongoing demonstrations with a rise in violence in other parts of town.”

But protesters said in a virtual event held Sunday and included in the Oregon Live report that protesters plan to stay on city streets, including Demetria Hester, a Black Lives Matter activist who was arrested later that same day.

As Breitbart News reported, she was released and charges of disorderly conduct in the second degree and interfering with a peace officer were dropped. Authorities have not said why charges were dropped.

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