Portland’s police department cleared an autonomous zone near what they believed was Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s apartment on Thursday.
Local stations KATU, Q13, and MyNorthwest published footage and photos of police dismantling what appears to be barricades set up by anonymous zone demonstrators.
The department wrote Thursday that it “is declaring a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly from NW 11th east to NW Park Ave and NW Irving south to NW Everett St,” but it didn’t mention the anonymous zone.
“If you do not live inside a dwelling in this area, leave immediately to the west. If you do not leave you are subject to arrest or use of force,” said police on Twitter.
The so-called Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front posted on Instagram that the area was called the Patrick Kimmons Autonomous Zone, named after a man who was shot and killed by Portland officers in 2018. KATU reported that the group used pallets, boards, and dumpsters to block the area—similar to a move employed by demonstrators who set up the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” in downtown Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood earlier this month.
Protesters told Q13 that they gathered there after the City Council wouldn’t agree to their demands. The council voted to cut about $16 million from the police budget, but demonstrators wanted a $50 million cut.
On Wednesday evening, the protesters gathered on Glisan Street and wrote “Glisan Autonomous Zone” in chalk.
Portland Police Lieutenant Tina Jones told local CBS affiliate KOIN-TV that a crowd also began to gather in North Park Blocks near Pearl District, and they then began setting up barricades on Wednesday.
“Right around midnight we started to see shift in activity where different items were being brought in and barricades were being created,” Jones said.
Wheeler, meanwhile, told the station that autonomous zones aren’t the answer to problems with policing.
“I do not want an autonomous zone set up in Portland,” he told reporters near his home. “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.”
In Seattle’s “CHOP,” there have been reports that police are not responding to calls. Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best attempted to downplay concerns on Tuesday, telling KOMO that “what’s happening in Seattle … there’s not a ‘no Seattle police response zone.”
A man who owns an automotive repair shop near CHOP claimed that someone attempted to rob his business and set it on fire. When his family confronted the individual, CHOP’s “security” team swarmed the business instead of police officers.
“I’m shaken up,” said Car Tender owner John McDermott in a KOMO report. “I am very disappointed in the city’s leadership. I’m very disappointed in the lack of police protection. I’ve very disappointed that the fire department didn’t show up.”