• February 26, 2024

Portland Is Mugged by Reality

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler calls for an end to violence in the city during a press conference on Aug. 30, 2020.


Sean Meagher / Associated Press

On Friday, a well-known politician condemned “self-described anarchists who regularly participate in criminal destruction” and who want to “burn”, “beat up” and “intimidate”. He called for “higher bail” and “stricter pre-trial restrictions” for rioters. And he asked the public to work with the police and identify wrongdoers: “Our job is to expose, arrest and prosecute them.”

Donald Trump? Sheriff Arpaio? No

That was Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler, the over-progressive who gained a national reputation last year by apologizing for vandals and rioters who he said were simply exercising their right against an unjust America to protest. Now he’s had a revelation after his indulgence turned parts of Portland into a combat zone.

Activists on the right and left have often clashed violently on the streets of Portland, with few repercussions since Mr Wheeler was elected mayor in 2016. The unrest escalated after George Floyd’s death. But even as agitators launched fireworks at law enforcement agencies, set government buildings on fire, and set fire to police cars and a police union hall, Mr. Wheeler directed Police are not allowed to use CS gas to control the crowd.

When the Trump administration dispatched agents to defend federal property, Mr. Wheeler called it is “an attack on our democracy” and accused the government for “increased violence and vandalism in our inner city”. The budget for fiscal 2021 reduced police funding by around $ 27 million.

Tolerance to breaking the law creates more of it. Last summer there were more than 100 consecutive nights full of anarchy and violence in the city of roses. Between November 3 and April 17, police arrested 69 people on charges ranging from disorderly behavior attempted murder. Vandals attacked two federal courts and other government buildings, causing at least $ 2.3 million in damage. Recent goals include a church Known for its homelessness, the Boys and Girls Club in northeast Portland, and the Oregon Historical Society.

There were 56 murders last year, up 60% from 2019, and 891 shootingsCivil unrest sometimes prevented the police from responding quickly to emergency calls. Around 62% of businesses rated downtown Portland as “not safe” in 2020, compared to 5% in 2016 survey from the nonprofit Downtown Portland Clean & Safe.

If we can borrow a phrase from the last heyday of left-wing protest, the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Wheeler sounds like a liberal being invaded by reality. It’s a shame his city had to be raided first.

Main Street (7/20/20): If a mayor doesn’t want to stop violence in his city, why should Trump let him off the hook? Images: Associated Press Composite: Mark Kelly

Copyright © 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Published in the print edition on April 27, 2021.

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