News & Politics

Feds (Shockingly!) Unresponsive to Portland's $2000/Hour Fine for Fence Erected to Protect Courthouse

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Last week, Portland City Council imposed fines on the federal government for the fence surrounding the federal courthouse, which has come under siege by protesters. Portland is collectively upset that the fence, which was erected to ward off violent protesters, is blocking their precious bike lanes. Today’s update: the fines have hit $584,000, with the feds so far unresponsive.

From last week’s article:

Need more proof that Portland City Commission lives in la-la land? Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has issued the maximum fine allowed—$500 every 15 minutes—to the federal government for the fence around the federal courthouse at the center of nightly riots, because the fence blocks bike lanes. Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who is in charge of PBOT, issued a statement announcing the fines, and it’s full-on crazy train.


This week’s update, courtesy of OregonLive:

It’s been nearly a week since federal officers withdrew from guarding Portland’s federal courthouse during nightly protests, but a large fence they installed is still there and city officials say it remains illegal.

The city of Portland continues to impose a $500 fine every 15 minutes for the fence, which was erected in the public right-of-way without a permit around the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Southwest Third Avenue. As of noon Wednesday, the fine will hit $584,000.

“The fence is currently still in place,” Margaux Weeke, spokesperson for City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, said Tuesday. “I’d have to refer you to the federal government for their rationale as to why the fence is still obstructing our traveling lane.”

Department of Homeland Security officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Last week, Eudaly announced that her transportation bureau would impose the highest possible fine on the federal government for erecting the fence without a permit in the bike lane in front of the courthouse.

Weeke said the city attorney’s office has been in touch with the Department of Homeland Security, which spearheaded the controversial escalation in federal activity outside the courthouse in recent weeks, spurred on by the Trump administration’s false claims that the courthouse was in danger of being destroyed by protesters. [emphasis added]

Notice that? The paper of record in Oregon is full-on carrying Chloe Eudaly’s water with the uncritical parroting of the radical line that the courthouse was never in danger from the peaceful protests, and that the Trump administration lied. That line plays very well in deep-blue Portland, of course. They must have missed this report from PJ Media about all the damage done:

Wednesday night marked the 61st straight night of violent antifa riots outside the federal courthouse in Portland, Ore. Rioters threw the first mortar firework just before 11 p.m., and federal law enforcement cleared the area in the wee hours of the morning.

KGW News photojournalist Eric Patterson toured the area just in front of the federal courthouse and captured a video of the graffiti, burnt trash, and various signs of violence from the night before.

Let’s just say this wasn’t exactly a “peaceful protest.”

Thanks to the hard work of federal agents who have defended this courthouse every night, facing lasers in their eyes, mortar firework attacks, and getting pelted by various projectiles, the federal courthouse in Portland has not yet burned down.

In typical Portland fashion, yesterday’s OregonLive report got in a passive-aggressive dig at Eudaly by questioning why she hasn’t taken further action:

Eudaly last week described the federal officials as “occupiers” and said normally her bureau would remove the unpermitted fence. But she didn’t feel it would be safe for city workers to do so with federal officials in town.

It’s unclear why the city isn’t removing the fence now that those federal officers are no longer leading the nightly law enforcement response and many of their ranks have left town.

Dylan Rivera, a spokesperson for the Portland Bureau of Transportation, said the bureau was in close contact with the city attorney on the fence issue. The fine sparked some legal observers to question whether the city could legally fine the federal government.

When asked that question, Tracy Reeve, the Portland city attorney, declined to comment.

Once again we’re reminded why President George H.W. Bush once referred to Portland as Little Beirut.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at Jeff hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, and on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds.

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