I want to express my support for those who gathered peacefully in solidarity with the City of Portland, my gratitude to Eugene Police for their efforts to protect life and property in our community while allowing people to protest, and to share in the frustration and sadness that our local businesses once again have borne the brunt of unnecessary violence and damage.
Last night over 500 people were able to assemble and peacefully demonstrate for more than three hours. I understand there were tense moments. I appreciate that for the most part, people in our community can find ways to peacefully manage those interactions. I am very grateful that the police were able to arrest the counter protester who fired a gun in the midst of that event. That display of violence is illegal, dangerous and unacceptable. It is not welcome here.
After those protests, a smaller group of people moved through our downtown and began damaging local businesses and buildings, creating a volatile and dangerous situation for members of the public and our police and hurting our own local employers and workplaces. This group was not associated with the Black Lives Matter group of peaceful protesters but acted on their own.
This behavior is also unacceptable and does not reflect our community. It is contrary to the progress of so many who are trying to create meaningful change.
I understand there is anger and there is urgency. I understand this work cannot go fast enough and we must work harder and faster to address systemic racism and police reform.
Destroying and defacing our city does not move this work forward any faster. It is counterproductive. It is not the path our city will take.
We will continue to reach out to find a path to turn the corner from protest demands to constructive engagement in local solutions. We will not be deterred from that critical work. We will continue to chart a path that makes us better together.