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Portland mayor Ted Wheeler says he will be moving out of his condo to avoid the protests and rioting that have cropped up outside the building in recent days.
Wheeler announced the move in an email to other residents of the 16- floor high-rise on Tuesday, OregonLive.com reported, one day after a crowd of over 200 people gathered outside the building to demand his resignation, leaving fires and broken windows in their wake. Rioters graffitied and damaged the building and sidewalk and threw a burning bundle of newspapers into retail space on the building’s first floor, leading to the arrest of 19 people.
The mayor said it would be “best for me and for everyone else’s safety and peace” that he find a new place to live.
“I want to express my sincere apologies for the damage to our home and the fear that you are experiencing due to my position,” Wheeler wrote.
Amid a violent summer of unrest in the city, demonstrators have periodically congregated outside the building since mid-June.
Wheeler reassured fellow residents that police are taking their safety concerns seriously and invited them to voice their concerns in a Thursday meeting with himself and officers.
The mayor purchased a two-bedroom condo in the building in 2017 for $840,000 the paper reported. The building has 114 units plus retail space on the ground-floor.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf criticized Wheeler’s response to chaos in the city in a letter on Monday, saying that while the mayor had suggested unrest would “ultimately burn itself out” that “the evidence demonstrates otherwise.”
“I urge you to prioritize public safety and to request federal assistance to restore law and order in Portland,” Wolf wrote. “We are standing by to support Portland. At the same time, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that there will come a point when state and local officials fail to protect its citizens from violence, the federal government will have no choice but to protect our American citizens.”
As nationwide protests and rioting erupted this summer in the wake of the death of George Floyd, other public officials have had struggles with protesters gathering at their residences, including outgoing Seattle police Chief Carmen Best and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.