Portland says federal government owes nearly $ 200,000 for courtroom fence

Officials in Portland, Oregon, said the federal government owes the city nearly $ 200,000 for a federal court fence that became the scene of nightly protests.

The city’s Transportation Office has filed a cease and desist order on the fence, which obstructs a downtown street, and is evaluating the federal government $ 500 for every 15 minutes it remains in place, the Portland commissioner said Tuesday. Chloe Eudaly.

“As of yesterday, the federal government owes us $ 192,000 and we continue to count,” Eudaly said. “We intend to collect.”

“Generally, we send a maintenance team or a contractor to remove such an obstruction, but I will not send workers in distress,” he added.

The Department of Homeland Security, which deployed federal agents to the city earlier this month to defend the United States Courthouse Mark O. Hatfield amid protests following the death of George Floyd from police custody, did not respond. immediately to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Eudaly referred to the agents as an “occupying force”.

The move comes the same day that Attorney General William Barr defended the Trump Administration’s decision to send agents. Recent protests against racial injustice and police violence after the Floyd murder on May 25 were “hijacked” by “violent rioters and anarchists,” Barr said.

The administration is “trying to protect federal functions and federal buildings,” he said.

Meanwhile, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said officers “abruptly” increased tensions between officials and protesters, “leading to more violence and more vandalism.”

The city’s nightly protests have generally started peacefully, with groups like the “Wall of Moms” and the “PDXDadPod” marching and singing “Black Lives Matter” and “Feds go home”. Later in the evening, small groups of people dressed in black and with umbrellas have launched fireworks in the court and lit bonfires.

Protesters have accused officers of deploying pepper spray and tear gas and destroying food and medical supplies. The peaceful protesters have described that they were taken by unidentified officers and did not tell the protesters why they were detained.

Meanwhile, civil rights activists declared themselves to “bring the focus back” to racial injustice, as expressed by the local chapter of the NAACP.

“I want us to remember why we are here,” an attorney told protesters last week. “What happens in the center is not a black problem. This is a battle between two white supremacist entities: the Trump administration and the local city of Portland. “