• Wheeler said peaceful protests could continue, but the violence needed to stop after a counter-protester was shot and a riot was declared outside his home
  • President Trump and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf have been pressuring Wheeler to agree to have federal agents redeployed in the city
  • The Portland protests are nearing 100 consecutive days after starting on May 28 because of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called for an end to violence as the city closes in on 100 consecutive days of Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community,” Wheeler said in a Facebook post. “This is what we’re all supposed to be fighting for. But last night saw more senseless violence in Portland. Another minority-owned, local business was destroyed by a violent group of individuals. A police officer was filmed repeatedly striking an individual at a protest. Even the building where I live, along with dozens of other families, was violently attacked.”

“These acts range from stupid, to dangerous, to criminal. The violence must stop. None of this should sit well with any thinking Portlander.”

Wheeler’s comments come after a conservative counter-protester was killed Saturday, allegedly in an altercation with a Black Lives Matter supporter.

Wheeler was also the target of protests on Monday when roughly 200 protesters gathered outside his condominium in Portland’s Pearl District. Reports said protesters started a fire in the street, which they fueled using a nearby bench and various items from a local dentist’s office. A lit newspaper bundle was also thrown into the ground-floor storefront of a residential building, but was almost immediately put out before it spread.

Police designated the scene an unlawful assembly before it was declared a riot. Multiple arrests were made, though police conduct is also under review after videos emerged online of an officer tackling and repeatedly punching a protester.

Monday’s scene served as a microcosm of the city’s protests, which have regularly gone back-and-forth between peaceful and chaotic. Wheeler said peaceful protests were still welcome, saying he recognized and agreed with the call of Black Lives Matter to address racial injustice and systemic racism across the U.S.

However, he said the violence was counter-productive and only served to distract from calls for racial justice.

“I call on my colleagues and all Portlanders to join me in denouncing violence and to actively oppose it by finding positive ways to let your voices be heard and to bring about the changes you want to see,” Wheeler said.

“We join the many activists who call for the continued peaceful protests. I will work with you to use every tool to move toward the systemic changes needed at every level of government. Either you are with centering the heavy work of dismantling institutional racism or you are not. These acts of violence distract us. And they must stop.”

Wheeler’s attempt to calm the violence comes as he faces mounting pressure from President Donald Trump and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to accept redeployment of federal agents back into the city.

“Due to a lack of action throughout the summer, Portland and its law-abiding residents continue to suffer from large-scale looting, arson, and vandalism — even killing,” Wolf said in a letter to Wheeler. “Businesses remain shuttered and Portlanders are held hostage by the daily violence that has gripped the city with no end in sight. This is precisely why President Trump has — and continues to — offer federal law enforcement assistance to Portland.”

Wheeler has openly opposed another deployment, though, pointing to how the presence of federal agents in the city during July only appeared to escalate tensions and instability.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has demanded the withdrawal of federal officers from the city, stands on the frontline with protesters as the police deploy tear gas
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has demanded the withdrawal of federal officers from the city, stands on the frontline with protesters as the police deploy tear gas AFPTV / Deborah BLOOM