Several months ago, an ambitious and radical Portland city commissioner tilted at the federal windmill by levying fines for the fence erected around the courthouse downtown that rioters have repeatedly attempted to burn down. The fence blocks bike lanes, which has drawn the ire of radical Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, head of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) didn’t bother to respond—until now.
Feds (Shockingly!) Unresponsive to Portland’s $2000/Hour Fine for Fence Erected to Protect Courthouse
Last week, Portland City Council imposed fines on the federal government for the fence surrounding the federal courthouse, which has come under siege by protesters. Portland is collectively upset that the fence, which was erected to ward off violent protesters, is blocking their precious bike lanes. Today’s update: the fines have hit $584,000, with the feds so far unresponsive.
From last week’s article:
Need more proof that Portland City Commission lives in la-la land? Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has issued the maximum fine allowed—$500 every 15 minutes—to the federal government for the fence around the federal courthouse at the center of nightly riots, because the fence blocks bike lanes. Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who is in charge of PBOT, issued a statement announcing the fines, and it’s full-on crazy train.
We are assessing the maximum fine of $500 for every 15 minutes the fence obstructs our street, & we are investigating other legal remedies. Typically, we would send a maintenance crew or contractor to remove such an obstruction, but I will not send workers into harm's way.
— Commissioner Eudaly (@ChloeEudalyPDX) July 28, 2020
The fines have grown to over $3.7 million, as Portland continues to assess $48,000 a day to DHS. The Portland Tribune reported, rather snarkily:
The Department of Homeland Security has racked up millions of dollars in fines — on paper — from two city bureaus irked by the iron barricade wrapped around the city’s federal courthouse.
The feds have no intention of paying.
In fact, Homeland Security says the financial penalties imposed by the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Bureau of Environmental Services are unlawful, citing an argument straight from a civics textbook: the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
In letters to both bureaus, David A. Hess, an assistant director for the Federal Protective Service, pointed to the clause — which says that, in most cases, federal law trumps a conflicting state law.
“The Federal Government is absolutely immune from fines or penalties issued by local governments unless there is a clear waiver of sovereign immunity by Congress,” Hess wrote, according to copies of the letters obtained by Pamplin Media. “There has been no such waiver here.”
On top of the bike lane fines from PBOT, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) has also levied fines on DHS for excess tear gas found in stormwater drains. Apparently nobody informed BES that, had Portland police been allowed to disperse the riots, there would have been no need for excess tear gas.
Eudaly has not commented since DHS issued their response, but last week she did release a statement that gave a grim view of the continued destruction downtown:
Update on Downtown Portland Revitalization Plan
Areas of focus include graffiti removal, trash clean-up, safe sleep options and public safety
October 8, 2020 3:30 pm
The City of Portland is actively working to support the safe reopening and sustainable economic recovery of Portland’s downtown by ensuring our central west side is open for business, healthy, and safe. Portlanders and out-of-town visitors alike love our downtown neighborhoods, and we are excited to see them recover as we move through the worst of this year’s challenges. Our work includes the following:
Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly have committed $100,000 to graffiti removal in the areas of nightly protest. About $60,000 of that has been invested so far.
There have been three SOLVE litter clean-up events in downtown since June, resulting in 11,000 pounds of trash removal. In addition, Downtown Portland Clean and Safe has removed 22,160 bags of trash – totaling more than half a million pounds – since June. That’s about 24 garbage trucks’ worth of trash.
On Oct. 21, 2020, City Council will consider code amendments that will allow for more trash and debris removal. In addition, the City is participating in a Trash Coordination workgroup with other municipal and business partners to make sure we’re aligning our efforts and making the most of our collective resources.
Eudaly’s previous statements have placed blame for the nightly destruction squarely on Donald Trump. No word yet on how the Bad Orange Man is responsible for the latest destruction, but Portland City Council will surely find a way to absolve themselves of responsibility.
Eudaly faces a fierce challenge for reelection, with one recent poll showing her trailing her opponent 41% to 25%. Her opponent represents more of the same radical progressive policies, so even if she loses, Portland’s chances for revitalization probably won’t improve too much.
Her chances at reelection seem about as good as her chances of collecting on those fines of hers.
Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, and on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds.
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