In response to anti-police marchers clad in black bloc garb repeatedly damaging property across the city after dark, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler extended a state of emergency last week and asked city residents to assist police in a crackdown. The mayor asked citizens to report the license plate numbers of black-clad demonstrators arriving in their neighborhood. He also called for Reed College to expel a student, Theodore Matthee-O’Brien, if he’s convicted of shattering windows downtown (“Trial by Fires,” WW, April 21, 2021). “There are ways that our other community partners and institutions can be helpful in making it crystal clear that the city of Portland will not tolerate criminal destruction or violence,” Wheeler continued. “Those who are engaged in it, let’s make it hurt them a little bit.” Here’s what our readers had to say:
MaxPower, via wweek.com: “The definition of white privilege. Rich, white Reed College student from New York smashing windows and destroying property at a museum, nonprofit, churches that help the poor and homeless. I agree with Wheeler on this one.”
Erleichda, via wweek.com: “Where did Wheeler get his riches? Where did he attend college, grad school? Do you know if the Reed student is on scholarship? Do you throw stones at your own glass house?”
Frank Liess, via Facebook: “Ted seems to be overreaching his authority there just a tad. What a shocker.”
Kwith, via wweek.com: Isn’t the Reed Institute privately funded? Since Mr. Wheeler’s constituents’ tax dollars don’t go to Reed, maybe he should concentrate on more fully representing the interests of his tax base (Nordstrom, [Oregon Historical Society], et al.), and see to it this offender is prosecuted and sentenced according to the laws currently on the books. That, in itself, would cause this student to miss a few classes.”
Kris Rosenquist, via Facebook: “Nothing more precious than a privileged Reed kid from the East Coast somewhere vandalizing our fair city, thinking yeah…this will solve it. So tired of this crap. Agreed with Mayor Wheeler.”
Mitch Craft, via Facebook: “Weird, it’s almost like almost an entire year of protests and direct action resulted in the cop who murdered George Floyd being arrested and convicted of murder.”
@imdchmp, via Twitter: “Anarchist assholes tearing shit up in downtown Portland have zero to do with BLM, marginalized communities or a message of positive change. They’re criminals riding on the backs of people who are fighting for true justice.”
Tomescu Mohr, via Facebook: “Have we implemented reform to allow for actual police accountability? As long as the answer is no, the protests continue.”
@Mendensmalls, via Twitter: “Unprovoked and frivolous destruction of property is a quick way to distinguish yourself from the people who are actually out there trying to make a change for the Black community. Use your voice and your wallet. March, resist, speak out, but stop throwing rocks and fire at nothing.”
Letters to the editor must include the author’s street address and phone number for verification. Letters must be 250 or fewer words.
Submit to: 2220 NW Quimby St., Portland, OR 97210.