PORTLAND (AP) — Portland’s police chief on Friday implored protesters to clear the streets around a barricaded home owned by a Black and Indigenous family before it was allegedly taken through predatory lending practices.
Before dawn on Tuesday, sheriff’s deputies swooped into the disputed home and arrested several people, mostly for trespassing.
“Employees of the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) are working diligently behind the scenes to do everything we can with partners and community members to safely resolve the situation,” Police Chief Chuck Lovell said.
“PPB appeals to those behind the barricades to dismantle them or leave them behind.”
Using fencing, lumber and other materials, activists have erected barricades around the house.
Homemade spike strips, piles of rocks and thick bands of plastic wrap were stretched at neck-height across the road to keep law enforcement officers out.
In a possible de-escalation of the situation, the real estate investor who now owns the red house has offered to sell it back to the former owners, OregonLive reported on Friday.
Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt on Friday praised “the neighbours and community members who have refused to stand by silently”, raising alarms about what was happening to the Kinney family that had owned the house since the 1950s and was evicted.
He further stated that neighbours were scared to leave their homes and journalists who went to the scene this week were allegedly assaulted. One suffered a hand injury when a protester slapped her cellphone from her hand while she was recording.
“Continued violence, property damage, and harm to our community are inexcusable and will be met with aggressive prosecution,” the district attorney said.
Police have said between September 1 and November 30, there have been 81 calls to the property for fights, gunshots, burglary, vandalism and noise complaints, among other things.