Officers were trying to clear the area around the Portland Police Association (PPA) building in the north part of the city after demonstrators ignored warnings against criminal activity and blocked the road with dumpsters, fencing, and cars.
“Within 3 minutes, participants began barricading streets with dumpsters and fencing. A fire was lit on the sidewalk outside the PPA office. Fire and an ambulance was [sic] en route to a medical call and had to reroute to get around the street blockage,” the Portland Police Bureau said in an incident summary.
Police declared an unlawful assembly. While working to disperse the demonstrators, officers were attacked. Rioters hurled commercial-grade fireworks, including a mortar that injured two officers, leading to the declaration of a riot at 10:10 p.m.
Multiple arrests were made during the ensuing clashes. No tear gas was used.
Police officials later decided to have officers leave the area in an attempt to deescalate the situation. After officers left, some rioters moved back onto Lombard Street outside the PPA office and blocked the road with dumpsters, fencing, and other items before setting fires in the road.
“After some time, they moved aside and reopened the street,” police said.
A female officer was burned on her neck by the mortar; her mask was partially melted. A male officer was hit in the leg by a piece of firework.
Since May 28, Portland has seen unrest virtually every night. City officials have struggled to contain the mayhem. The Trump administration sent officers to a federal courthouse in the city on July 4 because rioters had began attacking it.
Under an agreement reached late last month, state troopers are supposed to assist Portland police officers and county law enforcement with quelling the unrest. State troopers were seen helping police officers overnight.
Rioters on Saturday night set fire for the third time to the PPA office.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, said the rioters have attempted murder by trying to set buildings on fire with people trapped inside. The officers of Wheeler and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown have not responded to requests for comment on President Donald Trump’s recent offer to send in the National Guard to help deal with the chaos.