This looked ominous, at least at first. Some interpreted it as a retreat in the face of activists in Portland, Oregon that have been demonstrating against police for the last couple of weeks:
The area of NW 11th east to NW Park Avenue and NW Irving south to NW Everett Street is closed.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 18, 2020
Closed? As in … surrendered, a la Seattle’s CHAZ? Nope; the Portland PD’s shelter in place demand wasn’t actually a retreat. It was an attempt to keep everyone out so that they could eject anarchists who attempted their version of a CHAZ in front of the mayor’s residence.
— Eric Patterson (@KGWphotog) June 18, 2020
The Portland Autonomous Zone turned out to be surprisingly short-lived. One woman got arrested for refusing to leave after police declared it a “civil disturbance,” but everyone else skedaddled:
Police moved in on Thursday morning to break up a so-called “autonomous zone” in the Pearl District after protesters set-up camp overnight at Northwest 10th and Glisan.
Around 5:30, police declared a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly. The area of NW 11th to Park Avenue between Irving and Everett Street was closed with residents told to shelter inside. Service on the Portland Streetcar was also affected. …
This area is believed to be outside the residence of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. Protesters are calling for him to resign after Wednesday’s budget vote to strip the police bureau of $15 Million in funding.
Wheeler came out afterward to clean up the neighborhood, and declared himself “not impressed” with Seattle. “Let me be unequivocally clear,” Wheeler told reporters about so-called autonomous zones, “I absolutely do not support that”:
Yikes, Seattle. When you’re getting chewed out for a lack of intestinal fortitude on law and order by Portlandia … Remarkably, Wheeler — not exactly a rock-ribbed conservative — cut through all of the media narrative and hero-worship surrounding the CHAZ. He didn’t wax poetic about a “summer of love” or volunteer “sentinels,” but instead described it in terms of an armed insurrection.
And in fact, Wheeler is absolutely correct in both this statement and in the leadership shown this morning. The time to stop anarchists from seizing territory is immediately, and the method is to enforce the law rather than entering hostage negotiations. Either we have the rule of law, or we have the rule of personal force. Wheeler chose wisely. The leadership of Seattle and the state of Washington have chosen poorly — and so have the voters who elected them. Perhaps they might take a look around and choose more wisely themselves in the future.