Today's Paper Latest Coronavirus Cooking Families Core values Listen Story ideas iPad Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive
ADVERTISEMENT
story.lead_photo.caption Military veterans participate in a Black Lives Matter protest Thursday at the federal courthouse in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal agents, the crowd outside the courthouse was peaceful Thursday night. More photos at arkansasonline.com/81portland/ (AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The first nightly protest in downtown Portland after a deal was struck for the withdrawal of federal agents guarding a courthouse was largely peaceful and ended Friday without any major confrontations between state police and demonstrators.

The change in tone outside the federal courthouse that's become ground zero in clashes between demonstrators and federal agents came after the U.S. government began drawing down its forces in the liberal city under a deal between Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and the Trump administration.

As agents from Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Marshals Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement pulled back, troopers with the Oregon State Police took over. There were no visible signs of any law enforcement presence outside the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, where a protest lasted into early Friday.

"Last night, the world was watching Portland. Here's what they saw: Federal troops left downtown. Local officials protected free speech. And Oregonians spoke out for Black Lives Matter, racial justice, and police accountability through peaceful, non-violent protest," Brown said in a tweet Friday, referring to Thursday night.

Gallery: Peaceful protest in Portland

[Gallery not loading above? Click here for more photos » arkansasonline.com/81portland/]

Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler also struck an optimistic tone but cautioned that there was much work to be done after more than 60 days of protests -- and not just in cleaning up downtown Portland.

Leaders in Oregon are pushing for a raft of measures that would address what they see as systemic racism in everything from policing to housing.

The governor also announced the creation of a Racial Justice Council to advise her on criminal justice reform and police accountability, health equity, economic opportunity, housing and homelessness and environmental justice.

"The council will examine and begin to dismantle the racist policies that have created grave disparities in virtually every part of our society," Brown's office said in a statement.

A majority of the group's members will be people of color and include state lawmakers to help get policies passed next year.

Portland's City Council also voted this week to refer a ballot measure to voters in November that would create a police review board independent of any elected official or city department.

"We need the time to heal. We need the time to allow people to come back downtown and experience the great downtown that people remember from just a few months ago," said Wheeler. "The mass demonstrations that we've seen over many, many weeks, those demands have been heard. The demands have been understood."

Protests have roiled Portland for more than two months following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Portland's federal courthouse became a target for some demonstrators turned rioters who tried to tear down a fence erected to protect it, lit fires at the courthouse entryway and hurled fireworks, flares and bricks at the agents holed up inside. Most nights, the agents responded by firing tear gas.

But at the protest that began Thursday night, there was little violence and few signs of confrontation as several thousand people gathered near the courthouse .

A handful of protesters pointed lights and lasers at the building, but state troopers remained inside and did not respond. Soon afterward, hundreds of demonstrators gathered about a block away to listen to speeches, with little sign of a law enforcement presence. The mood remained calm into early Friday as the crowd dwindled to about 500 demonstrators.

In preparation for the handover from federal authorities to state troopers, the local sheriff and Portland police met and agreed not to use tear gas except in situations with a threat of serious injury or death, the mayor said.

Wheeler, who was gassed when he joined protesters outside the courthouse last week, added that tear gas "as a tactic really isn't all that effective" because protesters have donned gas masks and often return to the action after recovering for a few minutes. He apologized to peaceful demonstrators exposed to tear gas used by Portland police before federal officials arrived.

Under the deal announced by the governor, the agents will withdraw in phases. But federal officials insisted that the agents will not leave the city completely and will be kept on standby.

A crowd gathers during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal police, the crowd outside of the federal courthouse remained peaceful Thursday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A crowd gathers during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal police, the crowd outside of the federal courthouse remained peaceful Thursday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A protester wears a colorful mask during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal police, the crowd outside of the federal courthouse remained peaceful Thursday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A protester wears a colorful mask during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal police, the crowd outside of the federal courthouse remained peaceful Thursday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A demonstrator raises her fist while listening to a speech during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal police, the crowd outside of the federal courthouse remained peaceful Thursday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A demonstrator raises her fist while listening to a speech during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal police, the crowd outside of the federal courthouse remained peaceful Thursday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A performer, left, raps as a man dances during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal police, the crowd outside of the federal courthouse remained peaceful Thursday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A performer, left, raps as a man dances during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal police, the crowd outside of the federal courthouse remained peaceful Thursday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A speaker addresses the crowd during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal police, the crowd outside of the federal courthouse remained peaceful Thursday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
A speaker addresses the crowd during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Portland, Ore. After days of clashes with federal police, the crowd outside of the federal courthouse remained peaceful Thursday night. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

COMMENTS - It looks like you're using Internet Explorer, which isn't compatible with the Democrat-Gazette commenting system. You can join the discussion by using another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.
It looks like you're using Microsoft Edge. The Democrat-Gazette commenting system is more compatible with Firefox and Google Chrome.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT