PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Senator Jeff Merkley is disappointed in the violent protests that took over Portland on Thursday night and into Friday morning, he told KOIN 6 News.
Merkley said the violence “really hurts the thousands who came out peacefully.”
Rioters damaged property around downtown and the Pearl District during a protest that turned into a riot. Authorities said 26 people were arrested by Portland Police.
Merkley also said that he is concerned about the transition of power in Washington when President-elect Donald Trump takes office. He said he is extremely concerned about the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice nominee Merrick Garland.
Governor Kate Brown released a statement about the violence on Friday morning:
Oregon has a proud and strong history of civic participation, protest, and advocacy. It’s part of the Oregon way to make our voices heard, but the right to peacefully assemble should not be clouded by attempts to instigate lawlessness.
I commend our law enforcement officers and local leaders for preserving peace and keeping our communities safe. What defines and distinguishes us as Oregonians and Americans is our willingness to come together to work through our challenges. We must do so now, following the election and looking forward to the future.
Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler also released a statement Friday morning
Peaceful protest is foundational to the history of our nation and of our community. The freedom of assembly and expression is a cornerstone of our Democracy.
Last night, what started as a peaceful protest ended in violence and vandalism. While this was caused by a small group of people among thousands, such a conclusion is unacceptable. None of us – protesters, business owners, or the community at large – can afford for this to happen again.
People are hurting. The best response to pain is healing. People are scared. The best response to fear is peace. Portland is an example to the nation, indeed the world. Let’s make that example an unequivocally positive one. We can all help.
Some people are volunteering to clean up. Others are pledging to support the local businesses that were impacted. If your group is planning to protest, the Police Bureau requests that you communicate with them for everyone’s safety.
I encourage all of us to use our time to become more engaged with our neighbors, to congregate together in our parks, barbershops, coffee shops and places of worship and meditation. Make a point not just to listen, but to understand.
Portland is a city for everyone. Everyone should be welcome here. Everyone should be safe here. These ideals only matter if we can continue to live them in the toughest of times. We must live them now.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales also released a statement
I’m saddened by the destruction of our public spaces and local businesses caused by rioters. Although the majority of over 4,000 protesters last night were peaceful and followed Portland Police safety instructions, anarchists shut down these voices by spreading violence and fear.
I’m thankful for the decisive actions taken by the Portland Police Bureau to help separate violent dissenters from those assembling peacefully; mitigate damage to public and private property; safely direct motorists; employ de-escalation tactics and restraint in use-of-force; and appropriately deploy arrests for criminal activity. I also want to thank state and local law enforcement agencies and transportation departments for assisting Portland Police in these efforts.
Last night’s violence is not a reflection of Portland values. We will continue to support and advocate on behalf of women and people of color. We will continue to welcome our Muslim brothers and sisters, immigrants and refugees. We are Portland, a community that believes in equity, inclusion and openness. That will not change.
Riots and violence in our streets are completely unacceptable. I hope that all Portlanders will help our local small businesses recover. I know in Portland we are a community that believes love conquers hate — let’s be that example for the nation. We are all hurting and need to come together as a community to heal — as Portlanders and as Americans.