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Portland Continues To Spiral as Violence Moves Away from Fed Courthouse

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Police and protesters in Portland, Oregon, have clashed for the second night in a row and the city’s police chief says the ongoing violence is harming the city’s image.

The high-profile clashes outside a U.S. courthouse in Portland, Oregon, have largely stopped since the Trump administration sent federal agents to protect the building.

But the turmoil on the streets has continued miles away as protesters calling to defund the local police force get into confrontations with officers late at night.

Officers on Wednesday night clashed with protesters outside a precinct station six miles from the courthouse after they removed what they initially believed was an explosive device but later determined was not explosive.

Police said the protesters started a fire, spray painted over security cameras and shined green lasers and other lights at officers.

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Several media outlets reported that protesters pulled away plywood covering the front doors of the precinct building and slammed them with rocks and other objects,

In protests that started Tuesday night and lasted into early Wednesday morning, officers made three arrests after rioters set fires, erected barricades in a street and tried to break into the police union headquarters, Portland media outlets reported.

Police said someone also fired a gun during that night of unrest and that a pickup truck accelerated into the crowd while pushing an unoccupied motorcycle in front of it.

No one was injured in either incident. Police have interviewed the driver of the truck but so far have made no arrests. Police did not use tear gas during the demonstration.

Are these riots tarnishing Portland's image?

Police Chief Chuck Lovell said he was concerned that the national spotlight on the violence was hurting what he called the “beautiful, vibrant city” of Portland.

Police have arrested more than 400 people since late May, he said. U.S. agents arrested at least 94 people on federal charges through July 30.

“This is not forwarding the goals of things that are going to lead to better outcomes for people of color,” Lovell said. “This movement is very powerful and I feel like the violence has taken away from it in a really kind of concerning way.”

He added: “I think it’s really dependent on Portland as a community to really say we’re not going to tolerate this.”

The Portland protests have happened for 69 consecutive days since George Floyd was killed by police in Minneapolis.

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The clashes prompted President Donald Trump to send federal agents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to guard the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse.

Agitators tossed fireworks, flares, rocks, ball bearings and bottles at the federal agents and used power tools to try to bring down a fence protecting the courthouse.

U.S. agents responded each night with tear gas, pepper balls and rubber bullets.

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