The city of Portland, Ore. is fining the federal government $500 for every 15 minutes it maintains unpermitted fencing outside of the federal courthouse that has faced nightly attacks amid ongoing protests and rioting.
City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said in a statement Tuesday that the fencing is obstructing the street outside of the courthouse. As of Monday, she said, the federal government owed Portland $192,000.
“We intend to collect,” said Eudaly, who added that she was “committed to doing everything in my power to end this federal occupation and move forward with our community’s reckoning with racial injustice and our efforts to transform our approach to policing and public safety.”
Last week, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, which Eudaly is in charge of, sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding that the federal government take down the fence, which was erected on Wednesday and appeared to act as a barrier between federal agents and demonstrators throwing projectiles.
In her statement, Eudaly said the city had received no response to its letter.
“We are assessing the maximum fine of $500 for every 15 minutes the fence obstructs our street, and we are investigating other legal remedies available to us. Typically, we would send a maintenance crew or contractor to remove such an obstruction, but I will not send workers into harm’s way,” she said.
“Yes, I am afraid to direct workers to do their job and enforce our laws against the federal government—I hope that gives everyone reading this pause.”
Eudaly also suggested that the federal government was overreacting to “a few” violent demonstrators.
“Each and every one of you has a constitutional right to exercise your freedom of speech and to peacefully assemble,” she said. “The actions of a few should not negate these rights, and the response of law enforcement should be proportional to the infractions. Indiscriminately tear-gassing and firing impact munitions at thousands of peaceful protesters is not a proportionate response.”
Eudaly has been a prominent part of the chorus of criticism of federal agents by Portland politicians. Last week, she accused the Trump administration of “violating the constitutional rights of Portlanders … attempting to use Portland as a proving ground for fascism, and … plan[ning] to invade cities across the country, cities that are political targets of the president.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which is leading the federal response in Portland, did not immediately provide comment for this story.