A copycat effort in Portland, Oregon, to mimic the autonomous zone created in Seattle failed Thursday as Portland police dismantled barricades that had been erected overnight.
Beginning at around midnight, demonstrators began dragging whatever they could find to serve as a barrier, including dumpsters, recycling bins and pallets, to an area they believed to be near the residence of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.
However, by 5:30 a.m. local time Thursday, police moved in, according to KOIN-TV.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) June 18, 2020
Playtime over: Portland autonomous zone is no more
— ELIJAH SCHAFFER (@ElijahSchaffer) June 18, 2020
Some protesters wanted the autonomous zone named for Patrick Kimmons, who was killed by Portland police in 2018.
This has been declared the Patrick Kimmons autonomous zone, and by request of Patrick’s mother we are demanding for the reopening Patrick’s case, along with abolishing the PPB and the stolen land we call Portland. #BlackLivesmatter #PKAZ#PatrickKimmonsAutnomousZone pic.twitter.com/g3BaRjtlvi
— PNW Youth Liberation Front (@PNWYLF) June 18, 2020
Thursday morning, police declared a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly and asked residents of the area to shelter in place. Most protesters left after the declaration was announced.
One person, Hailley Nolan, 27, was arrested and charged with interfering with a police officer.
The end of the protest did not mean the end of the work. The area where protesters had gathered needed to be cleaned of debris.
“Our goal is to get the area back up and running as soon as possible so people can go about their day,” Portland Police Bureau Lt. Tina Jones said.
“We want people to know the area is safe. We’re very pleased with the successful outcome this morning. There was an intent to create an autonomous zone in Portland and that failed last night.”
“I am proud of our PPB officers and command staff who carefully and safely dispersed this unlawful assembly,” PPB Chief Chuck Lovell said. “The actions taken by some to barricade city streets and begin the creation of an autonomous zone caused great concern for public safety. Emergency responders need to be able to respond to critical life safety calls. There are acceptable ways to express first amendment rights and this was beyond the threshold for what is acceptable for Portland.”
Wheeler emerged from his apartment at about 7 a.m., saying he was there to help clean up, and stated he opposes creating an autonomous zone as a way to address grievances.
“I do not want an autonomous zone set up in Portland,” he said, according to My Northwest. “I’m watching what’s happening in Seattle, and I’m not impressed. I think it’s a distraction from the larger movement, and the movement is justice for black people.”
“What I’m hearing coming out of Seattle concerns me,” he said. “Armed people walking around the autonomous zone. People being asked to show their papers and demonstrate where they are from at the entrance to the autonomous zone.
“Businesses potentially being shaken down to be allowed to operate within the autonomous zone. If you are asking if that is something I support, let me be unequivocally clear: I absolutely do not support that.”
Portland has endured almost three weeks of protests that initially were touched off by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
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