The city, better known for its lush green spaces and “Keep Portland Weird” signs, became the center of fierce protests over police brutality after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. For more than 100 days, progressive and conservative demonstrators have descended on downtown Portland, some calling for the abolition of the police department and others showing support for law enforcement.
At the center of the ongoing unrest is Wheeler, a Democrat running for reelection in November despite continued calls for his resignation by people on both sides of the political spectrum.
Conservatives claim he has not done enough to protect the city from protesters who have gathered every night for more than three months, sometimes lighting fires and antagonizing police. Progressives say he hasn’t done enough to protect residents from police officers who lob tear gas and other projectiles into crowds.
President Donald Trump called Wheeler a “fool” for not reining in protesters, while Black Lives Matters advocates said Wheeler mishandled the unrest, which shows no signs of slowing down.