Newly-released emails from public records requests by the Portland Business Journal reveal that the Oregon governor’s former chief of staff who recently joined the Biden transition team showed support for violent Portland rioters.
“We all want the violence to end, but honestly, their point that violence against them has been going on for a very long period of time rings very true, and real actions to change that needs to happen,” wrote Gov. Kate Brown’s then-chief of staff Nik Blosser in an email exchange with Portland real estate businessman Jim Mark on Sept. 2.
Mark contacted the governor’s office to ask that they unequivocally condemn the violent riots and to take action to revive Portland’s dying businesses. In response, Blosser wrote: “I’d like to see your support for real change for people be as public as your concern about the property damage.”
But Mark fired back: “They have destroyed minority owned businesses while [the] government, other than the Mayor, have said nothing … This is not going to solve [the] equality issue, destroying the City of Portland. Very poor response and does not address the violence or destruction.”
Since the email exchange in September, Mark and others in Portland’s business community have formed a new group to represent their collective voice. The Rose City Downtown Collective announced its formation and published an open letter to the city signed by nearly 300 members on Wednesday.
“The pandemic has forced many of our great restaurants, local retailers, and local businesses to shutter, stay closed, and even relocate,” reads the letter. “The repercussions left by COVID 19 paired with over five months of nightly vandalism will affect business and life downtown for years to come.”
The coalition states that it wants to support and promote cleanups in downtown by connecting businesses with resources and setting up a system to report graffiti.
Blosser’s view that anti-police riots are legitimate have been echoed by other Democrat politicians both local and nationwide. Shortly before Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt took office in August, he told Willamette Week: “I think that when you look historically at this nation, it's during these protests when we've gotten some of the changes that we are proudest of in our nation's history. And sometimes it took some property damage.”
Schmidt has been criticized for dropping around 90 percent of cases against the nearly 1,000 people arrested at violent protests and riots this year in Portland.
Nightly riots by Black Lives Matter and Antifa extremists broke out in Portland at the end of May just as businesses were opening up following state-imposed restrictions in response to COVID-19. But the city and state have struggled to end the arson and vandalism, which have targeted public and private property alike. Many of downtown Portland’s flagship businesses still remain closed and boarded-up more than half a year later.
And since Election Day, far-left rioters have focused their vandalism on small and corporate businesses across the city. On Nov. 4, more than a hundred Antifa black bloc militants destroyed businesses and a church on West Burnside street in downtown. On Nov. 21, up to 100 Antifa vandalized dozens of businesses on the "Trans Day of Remembrance" in northeast Portland. Police made no arrests. And on Thanksgiving morning, Antifa rioters smashed up businesses in southeast Portland to protest colonialism, capitalism and gentrification.
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