Following a night of violence and two killings during a clash of protest groups in downtown Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler and his recently hired Police Chief Chuck Lovell appeared before the news media Sunday to try to make sense out of Saturday night’s violently deadly debacle downtown.
Mayor Wheeler stressed that the loss of life at the hands of a 17-year old self-appointed AR-15-equipped vigilante is not what Portland is about. Wheeler emphasized that although Portland has problems like many other large American cities, he’s committed to solving the ones in the Rose City. Wheeler also singled out what he termed “the menacing language of President Trump” who commented on the violence last night but fell short of threatening to dispatch American military to occupy the city.
Mayor Wheeler said Portland wants dialog – not gunfire. He said every community has differences of opinion but violence never properly solved a problem. Wheeler said opinions and politics are everywhere in America, but it’s up to level-headed people to discuss issues without being disrespectful or threatening gunfire.
Mayor Wheeler promised to meet with any group anywhere in the Portland area to respectfully listen to complaints as well as praise about the job he and city staff are doing to make Portland the Rose City everyone wants it to be – not an urban battleground.
Chief of Police Chuck Lovell said his officers can get spread pretty thin when there are a number of protests going on which can trigger other protests in several other areas of the city. Chief Lovell added that violence settles nothing – just angry citizens resorting to the same street violence that is becoming more common around the country, including Portland.
Mayor Wheeler said his office will try to contact people who were involved in the violence this past weekend and their organizers and seek what amounts to a cease fire, if it’s possible. If that doesn’t work there’s always the Oregon National Guard. Mayor Wheeler made it clear he wants no U.S. Military under orders from President Trump to intervene in what is a local set of issues.