Portland mayor Ted Wheeler has been mocked for hosting a ‘welcome back’ festival with roller-skating and music after the city was ravaged by protests and violence for more than a year.
‘Welcome Back to the Heart of Portland!’ includes free concerts, pop-up markets and light displays in the Oregon city which has been besieged by BLM demonstrations.
Wheeler tweeted: ‘You’re invited to Portland’s reopening with Welcome Back to the Heart of Portland! From Friday-Sunday, Portland’s central city will host free live concerts, roller skating, painting, and other fun, family friendly activities.’
Portland mayor Ted Wheeler has been mocked for hosting a ‘welcome back’ festival after the city was ravaged by protests and violence for more than a year
‘Welcome Back to the Heart of Portland!’ includes free concerts, pop-up markets and light displays in the Oregon city which has been besieged by BLM demonstrations
But many residents criticized him in the comments, saying Portland’s downtown is not ready to host a family-friendly event.
One local jokingly replied: ‘Who is providing armed security?’
Another wrote: ‘Sad to hear that our mayor fell out of love with Portland right when we needed him.’
Monique Claiborne, president and CEO of Greater Portland Inc., said: ‘Really we’re one step closer to imagining a future city that’s inclusive and prosperous.’
But Portland residents appeared to disagree, with some slamming the event in light of the violence that has rocked the city for months.
Many residents criticized him in the comments, saying Portland’s downtown is not ready to host a family-friendly event
Police chase demonstrators after a riot was declared during a protest against the killing of Daunte Wright on April 12. The Mayor of Portland says he is determined to reclaim the city from the ‘anarchistic mob’ that has inflicted ‘criminal intimidation and violence’ on its streets
The once vibrant downtown was ravaged by the pandemic and also suffered looting and violent clashes between police and BLM protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year.
Wheeler acknowledged the rising crime rate on Sunday, telling Fox 12: ‘We have clearly a gun violence problem in our community, we have a homicide problem in our community, and the community should expect that we will have adequate resources.
‘That’s the tools, the training, and personnel to be able to address the growing problem around gun violence and homicides in our community.’
It comes amid a push to force Wheeler out of office in response to the civil unrest that has gripped Portland.
Activists march towards the Multnomah County Sheriff’s office during a protest against the killing of Daunte Wright on April 12. Protests over the police killing in Minneapolis soon spiraled out of control in the city’s downtown
Total Recall PDX needs to collect 47,788 valid signatures, equivalent to 15 per cent of the voters in the 2018 gubernatorial election, to force a recall.
The group has until September to collect the votes and is confident of doubling the number of signatures required.
In April, Wheeler said he was determined to reclaim Portland from the ‘anarchistic mob’ that has inflicted ‘criminal intimidation and violence’ on its streets.
He praised BLM leaders for showing ‘the courage to stand up to this mob’ and said that all Portland residents should do the same.
Federal officers arrest a demonstrator during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland in July 2020. Portland has been the site of frequent protests since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020
‘Together we can make a stand… and take our city back,’ he added.
The mayor said that the community needs to resume their lives but ‘self-described anarchists who engage in regular criminal destruction don’t want things to open up, to recover.’
‘They want to burn, they want to bash… they want to intimidate, they want to assault,’ he continued, referencing the nearly $20,000 worth of damage caused to a local Boys and Girls Club in the north east of the city.
Over the summer, there were demonstrations for more than 100 straight days.