Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has announced he’s leaving his upscale Pearl District condo after rioters firebombed the building on Monday, apologizing to his neighbors for the damage and “fear” – but he still supports the protests.
According to the local media, the Democratic politician acknowledged in an email to his neighbors on Wednesday that it would be “best or me and for everyone else’s safety and peace” for him to move out of his $840,000 two-bedroom apartment. He also expressed his “sincere apologies for the damage to our home and the fear that you are experiencing due to my position.”
“It’s unfair to all of you who have no role in politics or in my administration,” the email continued. There are 114 residences in the building, and Wheeler has lived there since 2017.
Also on rt.com
Despite Wheeler’s public support for the protests that have raged in Portland and cities across America following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May, demonstrators have targeted his residence repeatedly. On Monday – the mayor’s 58th birthday – rioters sprayed the building with graffiti, shattered windows, broke into a ground-floor retail space, and threw burning debris inside, starting a small fire which was extinguished before it could spread.
Shortly after the abortive firebombing, police declared a riot and dispersed the 200-plus people who’d gathered to wish their mayor an unhappy birthday and demand his resignation, arresting 19 of them. Some in the crowd were sporting party hats and sang “Happy tear gas to you” – a homage to the Portland police’s preferred method of crowd control.
However, after 96 nights of continuous protest in the city, culminating in the shooting of a pro-Trump demonstrator on Saturday, even residents sympathetic with the fight against police brutality have begun to tire of the theatrics. A bevy of progressive leaders gathered Sunday to call for Wheeler’s resignation, as well as that of Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell, whom they accused of not intervening to keep the pro-Trump caravan and Antifa counterprotesters apart, characterizing the shooting as the predictable outcome of a clash between the groups.
Also on rt.com
Ironically, Wheeler’s mishandling of the crisis may be one of the few issues Left and Right can agree upon. While the left-leaning groups that met on Sunday published an open letter decrying Wheeler’s “repeated failure” to protect Portlanders, President Donald Trump has declared Wheeler “incompetent” and threatened to redeploy federal troops to Portland after the mayor rejected his offer of aid in quelling the increasingly out-of-control riots.
While police have arrested scores of rioters since the protests devolved into wanton property destruction and violence, local prosecutors have declined to press charges in most cases, increasing tensions with federal authorities who had been tasked with guarding government buildings and Portland cops who fear the district attorney’s office no longer has their back. Police Chief Lovell implored elected officials – i.e. Wheeler – to “draw a line in the sand and hold people accountable,” demanding “urgent action” and an end to the “violent behavior.”
But while Wheeler condemned the rioters’ “senseless violence,” he stood by his earlier support for the demonstrations, affirming his support for “our positive movement for police reform” and calling for the community to “rise up and say ‘enough is enough’ and hold all of us accountable.”
Like this story? Share it with a friend!