Portland Police officers deployed pepper spray on Black Lives Matter protesters in the frantic minutes following City Council's approval of a controversial police contract.

The protest, which repeatedly interrupted the contract vote, turned into a melee when police attempted to remove protesters who had set up tents outside City Hall.

Among the people apparently pepper-sprayed: former mayoral candidate Jessie Sponberg. (He finished seventh in a field of 15 candidates in the May primary, with 1.68 percent of the vote.)

Activist Jessie Sponberg receives treatment after being pepper-sprayed on Oct. 12, 2016. (KATU-TV)
Activist Jessie Sponberg receives treatment after being pepper-sprayed on Oct. 12, 2016. (KATU-TV)

A police spokesman says two people were arrested, and confirms that officers used pepper spray while evicting protesters from the building.

"My understanding is pepper spray was deployed after projectiles were thrown at officers," says Portland Police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson.

WW's news partner KATU-TV obtained an interview with one woman who was pepper-sprayed.

UPDATE, 3:24 pm: Confrontations between riot police and Black Lives Matter protesters have continued throughout the afternoon along the MAX tracks west of City Hall.

Protesters repeatedly blocked Southwest 5th Avenue, delaying light-rail trains. Portland Police deployed pepper spray on several protesters—including Ibrahim Mubarek, founder of the homeless camp Right 2 Dream Too.

Portland riot police approach Black Lives Matter protesters along Southwest 5th Avenue. (Johanna Bernhard)
Portland riot police approach Black Lives Matter protesters along Southwest 5th Avenue. (Johanna Bernhard)
Donald Thompson III and other protesters wash pepper spray out of their eyes near Portland City Hall on Oct. 12, 2016. (Julia Comnes)
Donald Thompson III and other protesters wash pepper spray out of their eyes near Portland City Hall on Oct. 12, 2016. (Julia Comnes)

UPDATE, 6:15 pm: The Portland Police Bureau announced it arrested nine protesters today, but has not yet released their names.

Activists say they plan to return to City Hall later this week.

"Hales wasn't prepared for this and handled it horribly," says Gregory McKelvey, spokesman for Don't Shoot Portland. "He picked the wrong organizer to mess with."