While the PPB were able to take a break for a few nights due to the intensity of the wildfires in Oregon stopping both Antifa and Black Lives Matter from being able to effectively organize their forces to fight the police, they are expected to resume soon once the air in the city clears up.
Not only are the rioters threatening to continue with their demonstrations, violent crimes are up in Portland. Shootings in the city have injured a total of 159 people so far. Last year, by this time, that number was just 88. This can no doubt be attributed to the fact that a lot of police officers are busy dealing with riots rather than patrolling the city's neighborhoods and keeping the peace. This surge in violence is forcing the PPB to choose between quickly solving these shootings or effectively dealing with the riots.
The PPB is also dealing with internal problems. Budget cuts imposed upon them have eliminated 84 positions in the PPB – including an elite anti-gun violence team – and another 50 or so officers have decided to retire this summer. According to Daryl Turner, the president of the Portland Police Association, many chose to retire because they felt demoralized by the deteriorating situation in the city. (Related: “Where are the police?” Anti-police Minneapolis City Council begs department to stop surging crime rate three months after voting to defund and abolish the police.)
Furthermore, the PPB is feeling a lot of tension coming from Portland officials. Earlier in September, Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler banned the PPB from using tear gas during riots, effectively limiting the ability of the police to control violent crowds.
Because of this, the PPB might one day be the only police force preventing Portland from collapsing. The Oregon State Police has threatened to pull out of the city due to Wheeler's “reckless and shortsighted” decision.
Several Antifa-affiliated organizations, such as the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front (PNW-YLF) and the Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (Portland DSA), are threatening to continue their nightly riots after they agreed to a brief pause in the violence as the Oregon wildfires made it difficult for people to stay outside for too long due to the toxicity of the air.
PNW-YLF announced on their social media accounts that their nightly riots will finally resume.
“It's been a hot second, PDX, so ya'll better show the [expletive] up,” they said on their Twitter account, announcing a riot on Friday night. “Meet: 7 p.m. Move: 8 p.m. Be water, spread fire, melt ice.”
Olivia Katbi Smith, co-chair of Portland DSA, made a similar announcement after their demonstrations – which are relatively peaceful and occur right before more violent groups like PNW-YLF take over in the evening – were similarly halted due to the fires. Now that the air is more tolerable, Portland DSA's activists have vowed to continue demanding that Wheeler further defund the police. Despite the fact that the Portland City Council has already taken $15 million from the PPB, they say it's not enough.
In an email to local news outlet Willamette Weekly, Katbi Smith said:
The protests were put on pause because we are living in a climate emergency, and unprecedented wildfires created conditions that made street protest impossible and emergency mutual aid work became our priority. Now that the air has cleared, protests will resume because our mayor has failed to heed the demands we've been making all summer: to defund the Portland Police… as so many crises escalate in the U.S., we must work to dismantle all parts of the system of racist, capitalist oppression.
Listen to this episode of the Health Ranger Report, a podcast by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, as he explains why liberal cities across America, like Portland, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, are collapsing because of compounding crises, such as the pandemic, the endless rioting and ineffective Democratic Party-controlled local governments.
While the PPB might not receive any help from either the local or state officials, they are being aided by the federal government. The Department of Justice is exploring whether or not it can pursue either criminal or civil charges against Portland officials over their inability – or unwillingness – to crack down on the Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said that the department had done research to figure out whether it could pursue charges against certain officials, but declined to comment on if any charges will be brought up.
This is occurring because PPB officers were, for many nights, explicitly ordered not to respond when federal law enforcement officers at the federal courthouse in downtown Portland were being besieged by rioters. They were ordered not to associate with the federal officers and to not give them aid, even though hundreds of rioters were attempting to break their way into the courthouse almost every night for several weeks.
If the Justice Department can push through with pressing charges against some Portland officials, such as Mayor Wheeler, it may force them to relent on their attacks on the police, which might be able to give the PPB just enough room to breathe from the stress placed upon their shoulders.
Learn more about the state of the riots in places like Portland by reading the articles at Rioting.news.