PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Crowds turned violent in Portland on Inauguration Day, smashing windows at the Democratic Party of Oregon and later targeting the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility.
A crowd of around 150 people gathered at Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland around 2 p.m. Less than an hour later, a few officers on bicycles rode into the parking lot and were quickly surrounded by dozens of people, Portland Police said. The group took one officer’s bicycle. More officers arrived and they got the bicycle back but the crowd wouldn’t let the officers leave. Police said reinforcements came and they seized some long poles and a large knife from people in the crowd before setting off a smoke canister to escape.
The protesters then began marching down SE Stark Street. They eventually reached the Democratic Party of Oregon’s headquarters on NE 9th Ave where they smashed windows and left graffiti. Some dragged dumpsters into the street and lit their contents on fire.
The group quickly dispersed. But officers pursued some people through neighborhoods.
Eight people were arrested: four from Portland, two from Albany, one each from McMinnville and Vancouver. They are: Kyle Romstad, 22; Kaiave Douvia, 22; Nicole Aria Rose, 25; Darrell Kimberlin, 31; Jean V. Paris, 18; Alyssa Hartley Davis, 18; Austin N. Nuchraska, 25; and Davis Alan Beeman, 38.
They face charges ranging from riot, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer, reckless burning and possession of a destructive device.
Another group of about 150 met at Irving Park on Wednesday evening where they listened to speakers who called on the government to “inaugurate justice and defend Black lives,” among other demands such as abolishing police, passing the Green New Deal and protecting immigrants. The group — organized by the Defend Democracy Coalition — started peacefully marching shortly after 6 p.m., traveling along NE Fremont near NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. They then returned to the park and mostly dispersed.
A third group gathered at Caruthers Park around 8 p.m. near the ICE facility. Police announced a short time later that some people were seen damaging the building. Some members of the crowd said they were hit with tear gas.
‘Frustrated and disappointed’
The Democratic Party of Oregon released a statement on the damage done to their headquarters on Wednesday:
“We’re frustrated and disappointed about the damage done to our Democratic Party of Oregon Headquarters in Portland this afternoon. We’re thankful that none of our staff were in the building at the time. This is not the first time our building has been vandalized during the past year – none of the prior incidents have deterred us from our important work to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, and this one will be no different.
“None of this should take away from the fact that today is a joyous and momentous day for America as we celebrate the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. President Biden is already starting the work to build back better, with more than a dozen critical Executive Orders on climate, pandemic response, immigration, racial equality, and more. We at the Democratic Party of Oregon are resolute and determined to do everything in our power to support the Biden/Harris administration, and to help Oregon and America recover from the pandemic stronger than before.”