Portland ICE Occupiers Finally Evicted After Terrorizing Neighborhood, Shutting Down Food Cart, Spewing Racial Slurs at Cops
After being served notices to vacate the premises by midnight or face arrest, most of the protesters at the the Occupy/Abolish ICE encampment near the ICE facility in Portland were finally evicted Tuesday night.
The occupiers had been stinking up the neighborhood for over five weeks, refusing to leave until they had permanently shut down the facility. But people who lived nearby complained about the smell, the noise, the threats, and the harassment of the occupiers, who only succeeded in shutting down a charitable food cart. Some of the protesters also reportedly hurled racist insults toward several nonwhite federal officers guarding the facility throughout the entire length of their deployments.
Several of the occupiers broke down the encampment throughout the day on Tuesday, while many others vacated the premises. An undisclosed number decided to stay until the bitter end. A few remained on the property after the deadline.
Spurred by President Trump's tough immigration policies, Abolish ICE protests and occupations sprung up last month in Portland, New York City, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tacoma, Chicago and other cities. The agitators, who are led by local anarchist organizations and chapters of the Democratic Socialists of America, are calling for the abolition of ICE.
The Portland occupation managed to shut down the facility for several days before federal officers forced the demonstrators off federal property. The activists remained in an encampment on a neighboring property, where they became an unwelcome presence in the neighborhood.
“I'm very frustrated,” a man who lives in the neighborhood told KGW8 on Monday. “I'm frustrated with the protesters because I think that they're sending the wrong message.”
Many of the people who live near the ICE facility felt too threatened by the occupiers to give their names to media.
“This is our home, we love where we live, and we used to be able to walk all around this area,” a woman who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation said. “I walked past there the other day to have to get up on Macadam and honestly I didn’t feel safe.”
Neighbors also complained about the threatening occupiers, loud noises, blocked traffic, and awful stench of the encampment.
Eight shrieking and cursing occupiers were arrested earlier this month after they tried to block an ICE transport van from leaving the facility.
“It's very noisy, people are acting very threatening toward residents, there are actually people coming from the camp and they're urinating on the building,” the woman said.
Last Friday, the activists marked the one-month anniversary of their occupation outside the ICE facility by holding a raucous "dance party" where they rolled out a guillotine and held a mock public execution of President Trump.
“It literally stinks walking through there, it's a garbage dump, and it keeps getting bigger and bigger,” another neighbor who asked not to be identified because of security concerns told KGW8. “They keep building things, I don't understand that.”
Neighbors said they didn't understand what the occupiers were accomplishing by "threatening violence and yelling" and said their protest had turned into a virtual homeless camp.
One of the occupiers who goes by JC said: “It's opening up a conversation about abolishing ICE and actually taking steps toward getting this agency out of Portland out of our country.”
Maqueal James, another protester, told KGW8: “It's not a homeless camp, it's not a place for refuge, it's a place for us to focus on shutting the building down.”
They didn't shut down ICE, but they did manage to shut down a neighborhood food cart owned by a nonprofit homeless outreach organization.
The owners of the Happy Camper Food and Coffee Bar announced in a Facebook post on July 20 that they were closing the business due to threats and verbal attacks by the Occupy ICE PDX demonstrators.
Owners Julie and Scott Hakes said they no longer felt safe in the neighborhood after their 21-year-old daughter, who worked at the cart, was repeatedly threatened and harassed.
"It started with one day that really started this all off where one of the main antagonizer over there was obviously bored, and my daughter was talking with a customer and laughing and joking," Scott Hakes told KGW8. "The antagonizer screams out, gets on the blow horn and starts screaming that out that my daughter is laughing at them, trying to make a mockery of them, everything that they believe in, and boom. Away it went. We were on the number one hit list from that point on."
Hakes said some of the agitators threatened to hurt his daughter and that the threats got worse after his daughter sold food to a DHS officer.
"They're constantly cussing at her and screaming at her. You know she'd finally had enough. She finally called me up on the phone, crying," Scott Hakes said.
"They already know what she drives. They see her walking around, and they run after her. You know, they videotape her, and they’re telling her they know where she’s at. And there’s no reason for it. She hasn’t done anything," said Julie Hakes.
The Happy Camper Food and Coffee Bar helps pay for food, clothing and hygiene products for the homeless, according to its Facebook page.
“Unfortunately, over the last month, we have been threatened and verbally attacked for not backing the immigration agenda at the DHS location and wanting to stay neutral and serve all who are hungry,” said the post on the cart’s Facebook page. “We tried repeatedly to try to work out peaceful solutions with the organizations and individuals protesting, but it all came back to being told almost daily to either support the anti-DHS agenda or suffer the consequences.”
The Facebook post also said the owners had not received any help from Portland police.
After the protest began, Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner, declined to provide assistance from the Portland Police Bureau to Department of Homeland Security.
KGW has reached out to the mayor's office and Occupy ICE PDX for comment. We have not heard back.
"We just decided her safety is our number one concern. No matter how much we want to help people, family comes first," Julie Hakes said.
The occupiers have also spewed hateful and racially charged invective toward the federal officers policing the ICE office, The Oregonian reported on Tuesday.
Email records obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive detail some of the insults and taunting that several nonwhite federal officers say they endured. The newsroom is not publishing officers’ names by request of the Federal Protective Services, which cited safety concerns if identities are revealed. The agency did not respond to a request for comment.
An official from the city commissioner's office confirmed that "he heard reports from Department of Homeland Security officials and protesters about racially-tinged verbal altercations between officers and protesters." A representative from Abolish ICE PDX declined to comment.
In emails obtained by the newsroom, one African American officer reported to an administrator that protesters “began yelling racial slurs” at him, including the N-word. The officer said he was also called a “blood traitor” and an Uncle Tom, a derogatory term implying a black person is acting subservient to whites for money or prestige.
The officer told The Oregonian: “These racial slurs have been directed at me throughout the entire length of the deployment.”
On Monday, Mayor Wheeler finally asked protesters to leave the area.
He said that protesters have a right to freedom of speech, but offered several reasons for why the wooden structures and fences were an “unsustainable” situation.
One of those who was packing up the campsite Thursday, Jaya Skinner-Maginnis, said they plan to donate the tents, clothing and food to other Occupy ICE movements on the west coast, and to organizations that support immigrant rights.
"The fight goes on and this has been great tactic," said Skinner-Maginnis. "It's been a platform for people to meet, but right now I think people are just gathering together for the next phase and moving towards a bigger, broader Abolish ICE umbrella movement that is a coalition building across the country."
An hour after their 12:00 deadline, a small group of defiant occupiers remained at what was left of the encampment, refusing to leave.
Portland police moved in at around 4:30 to begin clean-up operations, Fox 12 reported:
The Portland Police Bureau said they plan to move in a "methodical and thoughtful manner."
PPB said the Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit (MEDU) and Portland Fire & Rescue will be at the scene as a precaution.
The last remaining occupiers seem determined to be martyrs for the cause -- so there will likely be a few arrests.