PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Crowds of people across Portland turned violent on Inauguration Day, smashing windows at the Democratic Party of Oregon and later targeting the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement facility where federal officers declared an unlawful assembly.
A crowd of around 150 people gathered at Revolution Hall in Southeast Portland around 2 p.m. Less than an hour later, a few officers on bicycles rode into the parking lot and were quickly surrounded by dozens of people, Portland Police said. The group took one officer’s bicycle. More officers arrived and they got the bicycle back but the crowd wouldn’t let the officers leave. Police said reinforcements came and they seized some long poles and a large knife from people in the crowd before setting off a smoke canister to escape.
The protesters then began marching down SE Stark Street. They eventually reached the Democratic Party of Oregon’s headquarters on NE 9th Ave where they smashed windows and left graffiti. Some dragged dumpsters into the street and lit their contents on fire.
The group quickly dispersed. But officers pursued some people through neighborhoods.
Eight people were arrested during the demonstration: four from Portland, two from Albany, one each from McMinnville and Vancouver. They are: Kyle Romstad, 22; Kaiave Douvia, 22; Nicole Aria Rose, 25; Darrell Kimberlin, 31; Jean V. Paris, 18; Alyssa Hartley Davis, 18; Austin N. Nuchraska, 25; and Davis Alan Beeman, 38.
They face charges ranging from riot, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer, reckless burning and possession of a destructive device.
Another group of about 150 met at Irving Park on Wednesday evening where they listened to speakers who called on the government to “inaugurate justice and defend Black lives,” among other demands such as abolishing police, passing the Green New Deal and protecting immigrants. Activists who spoke made it clear they’re glad the Trump administration is out but they aren’t interested in putting their faith in President Joe Biden, either.
The group — organized by the Defend Democracy Coalition — started peacefully marching shortly after 6 p.m., traveling along NE Fremont near NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. They then returned to the park and slowly dispersed.
A third group about 150 people strong gathered at Caruthers Park around 8 p.m. near the ICE facility — a location targeted by violent groups throughout much of 2020. Police announced a short time later that some people were seen damaging the building, including throwing rocks and eggs, and others were seen carrying pepperball guns, Taser-like weapons, sheilds and rocks.
Federal officers declared the gathering an unlawful assembly and Portland Police said federal officers used crowd control munitions, though they didn’t elaborate on what exactly was used. A KOIN 6 News crew witnessed what appeared to be tear gas, as well as stun grenades and less-lethal munitions like pepperballs. Several people appeared to be taken into custody.
Shortly after 9 p.m., police say people started spray painting the ICE building. Not long after, federal officers came from the building.
In videos posted to Twitter, you can see people yelling and approaching the federal officers — who are fully dressed in riot gear. The video shows federal officers deploying what sounds like pepper bullets and canisters of tear gas.
Police say they circulated through the neighborhood for the next hour — arresting people in the crowd. Meanwhile, the crowd dissipated until there were only about a dozen people milling about.
Six more people were arrested ultimately arrested: Jovanni Garcia, 24; Justin Bowen, 25; Andre Marks, 20; Christopher Lundrigan, 26; Theodore Matthee-O’Brien, 22 and Trevor Coltor, 26.
They face charges ranging from disorderly conduct, interfering with a peace officer, attempted assault of a public safety officer, reckless endangering, riot and resisting arrest.
Thursday, Multnomah County DA filed criminal charges in 4 of the 14 cases, noting the other 10 remain under investigation.
Trevor Colter is charge with one count each of riot, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct for actions at the ICE facility. Authorities said he threw something at officers, then resisted being taken into custody. They said they found him with a large knife, ballistic vest, bear mace, gas mask, collapsible baton, wire pull smoke device and three aerial fireworks.
Austin Nuchraska is charged with one count each of riot, =unlawful possession of a destructive device and criminal mischief for actions at the Democratic Headquarters in NE Portland. Court documents said that after he was arrested, police found 4 individual Molotov cocktails leaking gasoline.
Kai-Ave Douvia is charged with one count each of riot and criminal mischief near the Democratic Headquarters. Douvia is accused of using a metal pry bar to break at least one window.
Nicole Rose is charged with one count each of riot and criminal mischief near the Democratic Headquarters for allegedly using a baton to break at least one window.
‘Frustrated and disappointed’
The Democratic Party of Oregon released a statement on the damage done to their headquarters on Wednesday:
“We’re frustrated and disappointed about the damage done to our Democratic Party of Oregon Headquarters in Portland this afternoon. We’re thankful that none of our staff were in the building at the time. This is not the first time our building has been vandalized during the past year – none of the prior incidents have deterred us from our important work to elect Democrats up and down the ballot, and this one will be no different.
“None of this should take away from the fact that today is a joyous and momentous day for America as we celebrate the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. President Biden is already starting the work to build back better, with more than a dozen critical Executive Orders on climate, pandemic response, immigration, racial equality, and more. We at the Democratic Party of Oregon are resolute and determined to do everything in our power to support the Biden/Harris administration, and to help Oregon and America recover from the pandemic stronger than before.”
A coordinated response between the FBI, OSP, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, PPB, local Federal Protective Services and the Multnomah County DA is largely focused on the State Capitol in Salem and in Portland, the scene of so many protests during the Trump Administration.
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said Tuesday their first priority is “to protect critical infrastructure throughout Multnomah County — the Justice Center, courthouses, county buildings.”
Some restaurant workers who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they were reluctant to open.
“We weren’t sure if there was going to be protests or not and what kind,” said Gayle Ostling, co-owner of the Portland Kettle. “The police had sent around a bulletin that told us to bring all of our signage and our tables and everything inside, which we did over the weekend.”
Ostling said her business had its windows smashed during previous protests. The Portland Kettle’s neighbors, House of Ramen, also shared concerns about the possibility of violence.
“Every business is feeling that way, especially with what’s going on down the street right in front of the Justice Center,” said Andy Tran, who works at the House of Ramen. “But, looking around downtown today and for the past couple of weeks, it’s been pretty quiet.”