Downtown Portland businesses band together and hire private security to combat spike in crime

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PORTLAND, OR- Several businesses in downtown Portland have stated that crime is on the rise and many business owners have decided to now take things into their own hands.

According to reports, places like Fuse and Candy have watched break-ins continue to repeatedly happen along with stolen cameras and damaged property. As crime continues to rise, business owners have come together and hired private security to patrol the area.

After attempting to use cameras and motion sensors to deter crime, business owners have decided to take the security of their stores one step further. Azim Patel said:

“A lot more recently, since we’ve been closed. Most of the alley businesses are closed as well. So, what you have is a lot of spaces that are essentially dead.”

At the club, Candy, owner Brad McCray said that he has had barriers and tents stolen out front on multiple occasions while trying to keep business doors open. He said:

“We have an outdoor area we’ve been trying to get established. It took us a long time to get approved and when it finally was approved, we put out some tents. And on the second day the tents were out, they were destroyed.”

Patel, McCray, and other downtown business owners partnered together to hire private security. Even though funds are currently limited, McCray said it is a worthwhile expense to protect the area. He said:

“Financially, mathematically, it doesn’t even make sense for any of us to be open. We probably all should have abandoned our businesses. I’m from this area, I don’t want to do that.”

The owners of these downtown businesses said that they are not feeling any support from city leaders. In the beginning of December, many downtown businesses band together and formed the Rose City Downtown Collective in an attempt to bring life back to their downtown area.

Most of downtown Portland Portland has boarded up windows, graffiti, and trash on pretty much every block. Vanessa Sturgeon, CEO of TMT Development said in a statement:

“We’re really struggling and it’s time to get the graffiti cleaned up. It’s time to get the trash removed and it’s time to find a really compassionate, long term solution to the homeless crisis we have in Portland.”

Sturgeon is also the spokesperson for the Rose City Downtown Collective, a group of hundreds of businesses wanting to get the city’s attention to clean up downtown Portland and put an end to the violence and riots that have plagued the city since early summer.

Sturgeon also cited Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt’s policy to preemptively decline prosecution of people arrested at protests for charges that did not include deliberate property damage, theft, or force against another person.

She feels that his decision to not prosecute those who commit crimes has harmed Portland’s reputation. She said in a statement:

“It’s permeating the reputation on a national level and it’s incredibly unfortunate because Portland really is a beautiful community and a really nice place to live.”

A spokesman for Schmidt claimed that the DA has and continues to prosecute cases stemming from protests where suspects are accused of property damage or physically harming someone. The spokesman cited that Schmidt’s office has prosecuted 51 cases related to property damage during protests and that it is reviewing another 35 cases for potential prosecution.

The group said that the financial help that businesses have received has not been enough to sustain them and whether a new federal stimulus package gets approved before President Trump leaves office in January is up in the air.

The high priorities for the group’s detailed action plan that will be submitted to the city council and other elected officials are to ask for prosecution for criminal destruction, find compassionate but effective care for their streets and the houseless population, create a pathway for non-violent demonstration, and make downtown a safe and secure place for businesses and residents. 

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Portland Police officers fleeing in “unprecedented” numbers in wake of defund movement

December 25th, 2020

PORTLAND, OR – Officers are reportedly separating from the Portland Police Bureau – in one form or another – in “unprecedented” numbers, according to police officials. The developing matter of officers leaving the force has some calling it a de facto “win” for the defund the police movement. 

Numerous officers are said to be trying to make moves to leave the Portland Police Bureau, whether by transferring to other police departments, outright resigning mid-career, or cashing in on what retirement benefits are readily available. 

According to Assistant Chief Michael Frome, who heads the Human Resources Department for the PPB, personnel files show that nine officers have resigned since just November and an additional 14 have put in paperwork to leave by the end of January. 

On top of those numbers, seven officers have filed retirement paperwork and an additional 25 officers are trying to transfer to different police departments. 

It’s likely no coincidence that these various forms of attrition are transpiring after Portland saw over 100 days of rioting and protests – largely aimed at policing – took place. 

Not to mention, the copious amount of funding cut from the PPB earlier in the year, to the tune of $15 million, resulted in massive layoffs to certain facets of the department. 

Assistant Chief Frome commented on the budgetary cuts, saying: 

“When the cuts came in and we basically lost our vacancies, that put us in a bigger fiscal hole than we were anticipating being in.”

“We didn’t have the money to hire, so we laid off basically half of our background investigators. We laid off our recruiter, because we just did not see a position in the near future where we were going to be able to use them to capacity.”

And from what Assistance Chief Frome says with regard to funding matters, the PPB has been told to poise itself for an additional cut of around $10 million in 2021. 

When looking at how the summer played out, and the talking points parroted by rioters and protesters, Assistant Chief Frome isn’t surprised to see officers trying to stage an exit from the department:

“For a lot of these people that are choosing to go somewhere else, they spent a lot of months this last summer constantly being yelled at to ‘Quit your job, quit your job.”

“That cumulative toll on our officers, it builds up. So in some ways, yes, there is a win by those that would want the police to be defunded.”

When the PPB began making cuts within the department in response to the defunding enacted, the city also began seeing an increase in murders.

And while the riots and protests have somewhat calmed down in Portland – when compared to the period of the summer – there are still lingering anti-police sentiments littered throughout the city. 

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Earlier in December, a makeshift guillotine was spotted atop the Portland Police Association building. 

We at Law Enforcement Today recently reported on that display erected. Here’s that previous report. 

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PORTLAND, OR – We have heard chants and threats by members of Black Lives Matter and Antifa about defunding or abolishing the police, especially in Portland, Oregon. 

We’ve also heard chants like, “What do we want?  Dead Pigs!  When do we want it?  Now!”

Or how about, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!”

Angela Henderson

Anti-police groups in Portland on Tuesday made their wishes — demands, rather — even more obvious by hoisting a guillotine to the top of the Portland Police Association building at 1868 N. Lombard St., north of downtown.

Angela Henderson

The building for months has been a focal point for demonstrators. Since June, the stand alone has been the target of vandals, who have broken windows, sprayed graffiti and damaged it otherwise.

On the night of Aug. 25, a riot was declared after protestors marched to the building while chanting “burn it down” and attempted to do just that. Police reported that at least two fires were set on and around the structure.

At least 25 people were arrested during the incident.  The conservative news site Hotair reported:

“The group, roughly 300 people, began a march from Arbor Lodge Park at North Delaware Avenue and North Bryant Street about 9:30 p.m. They walked north directly to the Portland Police Association Building in the 1800 block of North Lombard Street.

“Among other things, the crowd chanted “burn it down.” Many in the crowd carried shields, wore helmets, gas masks, and body armor.

“Within minutes of the crowd arriving, people were seen going to the back of the building. Power to the building was cut and flames were seen shooting up the side of the building.

“The PPA office is located on the edge of a residential area with wood-frame houses. Dry summer weather exacerbated the fire danger. Due to the extreme life safety concerns, the incident commander determined that it was a riot.

“The urgency to extinguish the fire was extreme. Someone in the crowd appeared to pour some kind of accelerant on it as the fire exploded rapidly.”

With the riot declared, police pushed the crowd away from the building. But as soon as the police retreated, the mob returned and tried again:

“Almost immediately people began to return. Chain link fencing was pulled into roadway to block traffic. Another fire was lit in the middle of the street.

“At 11:30 p.m., some individuals lit two fires on the north side of the building, including the awning over the main entrance…

“As officers tried to disengage again, people with “press” printed on their outer clothing were seen throwing rocks at them. A rock struck the windshield of their transport vehicle, cracking the glass.”

On the night of Oct. 20, Portland police reported that at least 75 protesters marched toward the PPA office with “support vehicles” in tow, before setting fire to a nearby billboard.

The billboard reportedly read, “WAKE UP AMERICA!” and “THANK YOU PORTLAND POLICE BUREAU,” before it was engulfed in flames, according to Sergio Olmos, a reporter with Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Back to the recent activity at the building, quite a lot of information may be gleaned from a Twitter group called the “45th parallel absurdist brigade,” which claims to be a “press collective in PDX.”

The group posted about Tuesday’s incident:

“Marking ~200 days since the start of the #PortlandProtests  against racist policing, last night persons unknown affixed a guillotine to the roof of the Portland Police Association building in N. Portland, and hung a banner marked with the reading ‘Abolish PPA – BLM – Night 200’”

Another message told of the history of the Portland Police Association, but without verifying or clarifying the statements:

“The PPA itself is the oldest extant police union, & established the legal precedent of Qualified Immunity, which prevents officers from being held liable for killings on duty. Their contract was the first to mandate that officers not be interrogated for 48 hours after a shooting.”

One of the group’s messages went on to explain the history of Antifa’s “three arrows” symbol:

“The three arrows emblem on the banner is an antifascist symbol originating w/ street militants who fought the rise of the Nazi party in 1930s Germany. The first president of the PPA, Otto Meiners, was active in the German American Bund until it was banned at the outbreak of WW2.”

Again, there is no verification or clarification for these claims by the “45th parallel absurdist brigade.”

The PPA building is a stark, boarded-up survivor of mindless violence, standing alone against countless physical assaults in an angry city.

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