We are no longer merely living in uncertain times—navigating a global health pandemic and economic crisis—in Portland, we are now living through a violent federal paramilitary occupation. Over the last two months, our community has experienced repeated acts of violence at the hands of the Portland Police Bureau—from the indiscriminate use of tear gas to the targeting of members of the press—and now the federal government is violating our constitutional rights on our own streets. To say I am concerned is an understatement. I am outraged.
While there are many elements of this situation beyond City Council's control, I am committed to doing everything in my power to oust the federal occupiers and hold the PPB accountable. I want to share two of my top concerns—issues I believe we can do something about: The Portland Police Bureau has collaborated with federal occupiers. This collaboration needs to end immediately. Both the Portland Police Bureau and the federal occupiers have targeted press and legal observers. Press and legal observers, who are critical to defending our democracy and our constitutional rights, need to be protected. I hope my colleagues agree.
The United States Constitution explicitly articulates and protects our rights to assembly and free speech. The White House's current occupant and his force of federal henchmen are attacking Portlanders and violating their constitutional rights with the dishonorable intent of creating an even more divided, even more fearful electorate. Portland is just a test run—the Department of Homeland Security has openly stated that they intend to replicate these tactics in cities across the nation. Cities that believe that Black lives matter, that demand racial equity, and are striving toward justice. Portland will not stand for this. Portland will not be a proving ground for fascism. Portland is a community grappling with our history of racist public policy, police brutality, and inequality, and we are working to create a just city for all.
To the federal occupiers—you're not welcome here. You have done nothing but escalate tensions and harm our community members. We can handle our revolution ourselves. Go home.
And finally, to Portland—keep loving, keep fighting, and stay safe out there.