There were protests/riots in Portland over the weekend and Saturday night after a riot was declared by police a group of the rioters wound up in a neighborhood called Kenton, which is a suburb north of Portland. Yesterday the Oregonian reported that the residents of Kenton were not thrilled about it:
In downtown Kenton, protesters used wooden items, including picnic tables and road barrier signs, to build a barricade across Denver near Schofield Street. The standoff between police and demonstrators continued past midnight.
On Reddit and Facebook, people who live in the area expressed anger about property destruction.
“Lots of people worked hard to make our little neighborhood pleasant and to help the local businesses stay open,” wrote Redditor WheeblesWobble in a post called “Leave Kenton Alone!”
“Now it’s trashed,” the user wrote. “This was not a BLM protest, this was a tantrum by a bunch of entitled kids.”
The writer of the post and many commenters noted that some of the damaged property was at Po’Shine’s, a Black-owned business.
One reason people in Kenton are so irritated is that they had just received permission from the city to block off the street to traffic so restaurants could use the lanes for seating. The whole area had been painted and signs and tables were set up to make it attractive for people to visit while allowing for social distancing. This local news clip is from last Wednesday and shows what the street looked like before the rioters got there on Saturday night:
And here’s an image of what it looked like after the rioters got there:
The nascent plan for the Denver Avenue Plaza that would allow restaurants in Kenton to open came to a fiery end last night when some people decided it would make a great barricade against the cops. Way to win friends & influence people. Jerks. pic.twitter.com/6EfWBkBidR
— Don Baldwin, Everyday Antifascist (@BaldwinDon) August 9, 2020
The events in Kenton come just a few nights after protesters confronted two elderly women who didn’t want the mob to vandalize and burn a police precinct in their neighborhood. Those women were hailed as heroes by many in the neighborhood.
It’s still early but maybe the rioters are finally wearing out their welcome. We might even see the tide finally starting to turn against them in the media as the Oregonian story above shows. But as Jazz pointed out earlier, the local DA is doing his best to make sure there are few consequences for the rioters so that doesn’t help. The thing about a riot is you never really know what will happen next.
Finally, here’s a local news report on one business in Kenton whose owner says she closes early every night because of protesters/rioters and she wonders when it will stop.
Update: Here’s video from the scene Saturday night in Kenton as police push through the barricade.
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) August 9, 2020