In late July, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler attempted to hold a ‘listening session’ with BLM protesters – wading into an angry crowd he thought he could tame with his giant brain and a PA loudspeaker in what he called a ‘listening session’.
Instead, he was heckled by the crowd and then booed after he wouldn’t commit to abolishing the police.
Six weeks and several riots later, tensions have escalated – as protesters began showing up to his high-rise condominium over the weekend, breaking windows, setting fires and partying.
Wheeler’s neighbors in the city’s upscale Pearl District were treated to the musical stylings of a local band, while young Portlandians danced in the street.
On Sunday it was bullhorns, bear costumes and chanting:
Outside Ted Wheeler’s Condo pic.twitter.com/KPGA3CuF8M
— Mathieu Lewis-Rolland (@MathieuLRolland) September 1, 2020
And on Monday, Wheeler’s 58th birthday, police declared a riot outside Wheeler’s condo – arresting 19 people who were mostly charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer.
A picnic table burns in front of Mayor Ted Wheeler’s condo pic.twitter.com/TkQb2lrdup
— Scott Keeler (@_WhatRiot) September 1, 2020
In a Tuesday email to the other residents of his 114-unit high rise, Wheeler expressed his “sincere apologies for the damage to our home and the fear that you are experiencing due to my position,” adding “It’s unfair to all of you who have no role in politics or in my administration.”
Wheeler added that it would be “best for me and for everyone else’s safety and peace” if he left the two-bedroom unit he bought in 2017 for $840,000 according to Multnomah County property records.
On Monday, Wheeler received a letter from Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, urging him to request federal assistance in quelling the protests and riots that have been held in the city for more than 90 consecutive days.
“I urge you to prioritize public safety and to request federal assistance to restore law and order in Portland,” Wolf wrote in the letter dated Aug. 31. “We are standing by to support Portland. At the same time, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that there will come a point when state and local officials fail to protect its citizens from violence, the federal government will have no choice but to protect our American citizens.”
Will Wheeler and his big brain eventually accept federal assistance?