uspol, Portland 

Nobody wants to burn that building down.

Yes, that was a simplification. This situation has drawn a lot of attention and I am sure there are some people attracted to the chaos who like to see things burn. It is true that during a protest three days after George Floyd's death, some people smashed their way in to the Multnomah County Justice Center and burned some stuff.¹

But you may note that is not the building inside this fence you're seeing all this footage of, and I don't think anyone has forced their way inside the county's building to light fires during the months of continuous protester presence since then.

Thousands of people have gathered to demand justice for George Floyd's death, for the abolition of the abuse of power that led to his death and the death and destruction of so many others, and for the resignation of this city's Mayor who oversees the police bureau.

They are not there to destroy entire city blocks in the center of their own town.

The building with the fence in the national news is the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse, across the street from the county's building. It's sixteen stories tall, placing it among the tallest buildings in Portland at the time of its design. It was built as a U.S. Courthouse from the foundation up with all the security features that requires.

Its lower levels are limestone and granite decorated with quotes like "The boisterous sea of liberty is never without a wave."²

It's not going to burn down with a book of matches and some oily rags.

If someone does have some kind of fire-breathing Godzilla that could take down a 16 story building, I doubt it would be troubled by a chain-link fence. And Portland City Hall (a block away, on the other side of the plaza) would likely go with it, along with half of downtown. Including the office of the city commissioner who oversees the Bureau of Transportation.

Complying with Commissioner Eudaly's cease-and-desist doesn't even require taking down the fence! It only requires moving it out of the public right-of-way.


1. The night of May 29th:
2. Street view of the Hatfield Courthouse from 2019 (without fences)

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