Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wall? Not The Portland City Council

Federal agents protecting the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse from protesters put up a fence around it in mid-July in an attempt to reduce increasingly violent clashes between protesters and the escalating number of agents being sent into the city. The Portland Bureau of Transportation informed the City that the fence was blocking a bike lane, and that the Feds had made no effort to obtain permits to erect the fence. On July 28, Portland Commissioner Chloe Eudaly announced that the Federal government had not responded to the City’s demands that the fence be removed, so the City was going to begin fining the Federal government $500 every 15 minutes, the maximum the law allows, for the entire time that the fence remains in place.  

Based on that fee structure, Eudaly said, the Federal government would already owe $192,000 “and counting” at the time of the announcement. 

Asked if the City was serious about the fine, Eudaly said bluntly, “We intend to collect.” 

Normally, an unauthorized structure would be removed by a City work crew, but this one is guarded by armed Federal agents, and as Eudaly put it, the city does not want to send workers “into harm’s way.” 

The Department of Homeland Security, the agency ultimately responsible for protecting the Courthouse, has not yet responded to a request for comment.  

John M. Burt