No autonomous zone in Portland, says Mayor Ted Wheeler

No autonomous zone in Portland, says Mayor Ted Wheeler

The Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, has posted a statement on Twitter notifying the public that the city will not stand for the illegal establishment of an “autonomous zone.” 

The Mayor tweeted, “I am authorizing the Portland Police to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation on North Mississippi Avenue and to hold those violating our community’s laws accountable. There will be no autonomous zone in Portland.” 

The announcement came after members of Antifa set up camp outside of a building called ‘the Red House on Mississippi,’ attacking police officers who arrived to serve up an eviction notice. 

The demonstrators arrived to protest the eviction of a Black and Indigenous family from a home that has been the site of months of demonstrations, after police served the Kinney family with an eviction notice in September, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Portland police stated that around 5 a.m. on Tuesday, officers partnered with Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in a “property mission” to return private property and “re-secure a home in which the occupants were previously ordered removed by court order.” At least seven people were arrested on Tuesday before protesters outside of the home chased away law enforcement from the area. 

By Tuesday evening a mob of more than 200 Antifa militants had surrounded the property and barricaded the surrounding residential neighborhood. 

Deputy Police Chief, Chris Davis, stated on Tuesday that the bureau is planning a measured response, but no details were offered. 

“I certainly am respectful of the issue that people are there to address, but blocking streets and chasing police officers out of the neighborhood is still not OK and really contrary to our values as Portlanders,” Davis stated. 

“We’re concerned for the safety of the neighborhood and we know this has a really big impact on the people who live there,” he continued. “We have to balance the need for safety for everyone involved in our approach to something like this. Obviously, we’ll have to do what we can to address it, but we have to be thoughtful about it and do it in the right way.” 

“Our approach is going to be to think our way through the problem and consider all the angles and do our best to resolve the situation as safely as possible,” he said.