A former freelance journalist has been charged with five felonies and five bias crimes after an alleged spree of vandalism against Portland houses of worship.
Michael Bivins, 34, allegedly scrawled “Die Juden” on the wall of Congregation Beth Israel on May 2, set fire to the Muslim Community Center of Portland while people were inside the building May 3, and smashed a window of Black-owned restaurant Everybody Eats on May 1, among several other incidents. Bivins allegedly confessed to a Fox 12 reporter May 4 that he had desecrated the Jewish temple and set fire to the mosque, describing his dislike of religion and Jews in particular.
From 2017 to 2019, Bivins was a freelance journalist and videographer who covered street protests for news outlets that included WW. A court document says Bivins has been unemployed and homeless for the past six months, sleeping on the streets and at his mother’s home.
On May 9, a judge set bail at $45,000 and ordered Bivins to remain at least 150 feet away from three houses of worship. His public defender declined to comment.