Mayor Stan Pulliam of Sandy, Ore., says Portland is “starting to look like a completely different city” after the continued riots in the area, which he claims are the result of calls to defund the police.
At the start of the George Floyd protests, many riots emerged. What’s unique in Portland, though, is the continued violence. Since May, mobs have regularly committed vandalism and have occasionally committed arson on occupied buildings or assault reporters. With the police struggling to handle the riots, shootings accelerated in 2020, running more than double 2019’s level.
Local journalist Andy Ngo, himself an antifa assault victim, regularly documents the Portland riots. Portland’s county, Multnomah, has a district attorney who declines to prosecute most riot-related arrests [Forbes].
“This is defund the police,” Pulliam said on “America’s Newsroom” on Monday. “This is a culture of criminality. This is what it looks like.” The Republican mayor told Bill Hemmer riots are creating fear among business owners and causing some to consider leaving the city. “It really is starting to look like a completely different city than the one I know and love,” Pulliam said. Pulliam recalled a recent conversation he had with a Multnomah County commissioner over the reason businesses in the area are boarded up. “She said that we had boarded-up windows everywhere because of COVID,” Pulliam said. “Well, I have news for that county commissioner: COVID does not seep through plywood. These windows are boarded up because of the riots in downtown Portland.”
The mayor also discussed the impacts of the continued violence and vandalism on those living in the city. “There seems to be no end,” Pulliam said. “We had over one hundred days straight … throughout the summer of all kinds of violence and destruction of local storefronts.” “There seems to be no end in sight,” he added. “And Portlanders are getting sick and tired of it.” Despite this, Pulliam reiterated his call for an end to the unrest. “You turn on the local news and see the mass riots and violence,” he added later. “It’s time for it to come to an end. This culture of criminality, it’s got to stop” [FOX].
The quality of life has also suffered due to increased homelessness. The police seldom try to move homeless campers. When the Portland Timbers entered Major League Soccer back in 2011, fans could walk the quarter-mile from downtown to the stadium without seeing any homeless people. Now the fans—if games had spectators—would pass several encampments on that short stretch. The city’s dedication to high density urban housing at the expense of affordability shows no sign of changing. Efforts to cope with homelessness primarily consist of spending millions on “affordable housing,” which paradoxically costs more to build than regular housing.
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: WILLAMETTE WEEK