Portland’s mayor is moving out of his condo building after protesters broke windows and threw burning debris inside

Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler is pictured during a protest against racial inequality and police violence in Portland, Oregon, on July 22, 2020. Reuters/Caitlin Ochs

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Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is reportedly moving out of his condominium building after it became the site of repeated protests, arson, and even a formal riot declaration in recent days.

Photos and videos taken on Monday evening showed hundreds of protesters demonstrating just outside Wheeler’s building on his birthday. Some sprayed graffiti on the building and footpath, and others lit a bundle of newspapers on fire and threw the flaming heap into the building, according to The Oregonian/Oregon Live.

Police said some people broke windows, burglarized a nearby business, and set off fireworks.

“Officers observed someone throw burning material through a broken window into a ground-level business in a large, occupied apartment building,” Portland Police said in a statement. “Out of concern that the fire could spread, causing an extreme life safety concern, the incident was declared a riot.”

Under state law, police must declare a riot, officially defined as five people acting violently, in order to use tear gas to get people to disperse an area. Portland police have declared 25 riots during the city’s nightly protests since May 29 following the death of George Floyd.

Many of the protesters demonstrating outside Wheeler’s condo and across the city have been calling for him to resign, and for the city to defund the police and use the money for community resources.

The Oregonian/Oregon Live obtained screenshots of an email Wheeler sent to fellow residents of the high-rise tower apologizing for the disturbances and explaining the move will be “best for me and for everyone else’s safety and peace.”

“I want to express my sincere apologies for the damage to our home and the fear that you are experiencing due to my position,” he said in the email. “It’s unfair to all of you who have no role in politics or in my administration.”

Police arrested 19 people after Monday’s unrest outside Wheeler’s building

The city of Portland has been the site of daily protests since the springtime – including at Wheeler’s residence. The Associated Press reported that crowds have gathered there occasionally since mid-June, including twice when he wasn’t home.

Ultimately, police arrested 19 people on Monday in connection with the demonstrations outside Wheeler’s building, charging them with crimes ranging from disorderly conduct to rioting.

Authorities said they were still searching for an arson suspect, and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell urged elected officials to “do their part” and stop the violence.

In a statement, Wheeler acknowledged the violence at his home and condemned the “senseless violence” across the city.

“Even the building where I live, along with dozens of other families, was violently attacked. These acts range from stupid, to dangerous, to criminal. The violence must stop,” he said.

In July, federal agents tear-gassed Wheeler as he was visiting protesters outside a federal courthouse.

President Donald Trump has also weighed in on the situation, condemning Wheeler for the unrest.

“Mayor Wheeler just got harassed out of his own home in Portland by so-called ‘friendly protesters,'” Trump tweeted Wednesday. “The Anarchists, Agitators and Looters treat him HORRIBLY, even though he is so nice and respectful to them. Criminals only understand strength!”