Portland Police Urge Protesters Not to Start Fires as Blazes Ravage Oregon

Portland Police has urged protesters not to start fires during demonstrations in the city. Based on videos posted to social media, and compared to previous nights, protesters appear to be reduced in number and adhering to police advice.

The police said to protesters in a tweet: "Since fire danger is very high right now due to high winds and the current dry climate, fire will spread quickly and could affect many lives."

The crowd is now gathered in front of city hall. Some protesters are dancing to the music. #PortlandProtests #PDXprotests #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/JGBF4804ZL

— Justin Yau (@PDocumentarians) September 9, 2020

To those attending the demonstration tonight: Keep in mind the immediate risk the use of fire poses to community members. Since fire danger is very high right now due to high winds and the current dry climate, fire will spread quickly and could affect many lives.

— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) September 9, 2020

Wildfires have been rampant in the areas around the California-Oregon and Oregon-Washington borders, threatening to reach the state's largest city as well.

On Tuesday, a windstorm in northwest Oregon left thousands of Portland residents without power. The fire has put lives and property in danger in Jackson County, predicted to impact the communities of Talent and Phoenix, while residents in the city of Medford have been ordered to evacuate.

Protests in Portland started as a response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in late May. Over 750 protesters have been arrested since then.

Large cities around the country have been engulfed by demonstrations, which have also spread around the world, but Portland is the only city where protests have been held every evening since they started.

Some of the protests have resulted in fires in the past 100 days, with analysis from the city's police department stating that a total of 25 demonstrations have escalated into rioting since May 29, when the city saw its first night of protests.

The most recent riot declared was when protesters congregated around the house of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler demanding his resignation over what they say is a lack of action over police reforms.

On Labour Day, tensions rose as members of the far-right group the Proud Boys attacked Black Lives Matter counter-protesters in Salem.

The Associated Press reported that the group had driven to Salem from a pro-Trump vehicle rally at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City on Monday afternoon, joining a crowd of several dozen Trump supporters outside the Oregon State Capitol.

A smaller group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators was also present at the Capitol, and videos showed members of the far-right group rushing towards them.

Lives have also been lost during the protests. Right-wing activist Aaron J. Danielson was shot in the chest during clashes between Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland. The suspect in Danielson's killing, Michael Forest Reinoehl, was killed as law enforcement attempted to arrest him days later.

In Kenosha, Wisconsin, where demonstrators protested the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 17-year-old from Illinois shot three protesters, killing two of them.

Portland BLM September
Protesters chant in front of the North police precinct during a protest against racial injustice and police brutality on September 6, in Portland, Oregon. As fires start to spread across the state, Portland Police have urged protesters to not start fires in upcoming demostrations. Nathan Howard/Getty Images