The Portland Police Association enjoyed friendly relations with neighbors after transforming a building that had housed a card room that involved illegal drug use and late-night partying, Daryl Turner, the union’s executive director, said on Facebook.
“The neighbors welcomed us and were glad to have the police union and police cars there. The community supported us and dropped by to say hello. We opened a Rest Stop for officers, so they had a place to come have lunch, use the restroom, and write reports. Time and again we heard from folks that they felt safer in the neighborhood and were thankful to have things cleaned up,” he said.
But after protests and riots started in the summer of 2020—things have died down, but unrest continues to happen regularly—the building became a key focal point, being repeatedly set on fire and vandalized.
“As the rioting escalated at our location, we felt that the community was more and more at risk. At the most recent arson incident, a neighbor stood on the sidewalk with a water hose trying to put the fire out just before first responders arrived. It went too far and it was time to find another location,” Turner said.
“We have since moved out and relocated. The Lombard building will be repaired and, at a later date, put on the market to sell.”
Turner thanked the community in North Portland, especially the business owners who are located adjacent to the building.
“We appreciate their support and patience over the last year. We thank them for their tolerance. And we hope that with our relocation, they can have some peace,” he said.
Included in the post was a photograph showing graffiti left by vandals. They wrote “cops=murderers” and “rot fascist pigs” among other far-left slogans.
Antifa, a far-left, anarcho-communist network, is most active in the United States in the Pacific Northwest.
Members of the group have been involved in the unrest in Portland that dates back to the summer of 2020. The protests and riots started after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Social media accounts linked with the group expressed interest in continuing to vandalize the building, according to Andy Ngo, a Post Millennial editor and expert on Antifa. Some indicated they hope to find where the new headquarters are so that building can also be vandalized.
A person who lives near the Lombard building told KOIN-TV that some neighbors would be excited about the union relocating, but he would miss the officers.
“They are good human beings and they are just doing their job and so I am kind of sorry to see them leave actually,” he said. “I enjoyed their presence but it caused a strain on the peacefulness around here. It was always peaceful before the protests. The only thing constant is change; hopefully, it’s a change for the better,” he added.
Timothy Becker, a spokesman for Mayor and Police Commissioner Ted Wheeler, declined to comment on the police union’s announcement.
Portland Police Bureau Lt. Greg Pashley told The Epoch Times in an email, “Hopefully the move will help the administration of the association’s business as its hundreds of members continue to serve the community.”