Portland says Trump administration owes $200,000 over fence at centre of BLM protests

Fence was erected without permission, city officials say

Matt Mathers
Wednesday 29 July 2020 17:05
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Protester with American flag tackled by federal police in Portland

Portland officials say they intend to bill the White House nearly $200,000 (£154,000) for a fence that was erected around the federal courthouse amid ongoing protests.

Transport chiefs in the city issued the federal government with a desist order over the barricade, which they say was built without permission and blocks a bike lane on Southwest Third Avenue.

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who heads up transport in Portland and is running for re-election, said the government is racking up $500 (£385) in charges for every 15 minutes the fence remains in place.

“As of yesterday, the federal government owes us $192,000 and counting,” Eudaly said in a statment posted to Twitter on Tuesday.

“We intend to collect.

“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 added.

Disorder erupted in Portland again on Wednesday as federal agents clashed with protesters.

Demonstrations have been taking place in the city on a nightly basis following the death of George Floyd in May.

The fence in question has become a flashpoint for clashes after the Trump administration dispatched militarised personnel to the courthouse earlier this month.

Earlier this week, US Attorney General William Barr defended the decision to send agents to the city.

However, a White House source told Associated Press on Tuesday that the Trump administration had begun negotiation with Oregon state to have the agents withdrawn.

Talks were in the early stages and a deal had not yet been agreed, the source added.

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