Protest May 31, 2023

People oppose Ted Wheeler’s draconian criminalization of homelessness.

#campingban #housekeysnothandcuffs #CriminalizingHomelessness

Images of gathering at City Hall on May 31, 2023 to oppose the ban on camping, the sweeps, the threat of jail time and fines. City Hall is deaf to criticism, claims the response to these ordinances is “overwhelmingly positive” despite all evidence of the opposite.

City leaders, advocates denounce ‘hate and violence’ ahead of expected clashes in Portland

From the Oregonian, August 2021

A series of news conferences was held Friday ahead of a right-wing gathering expected Sunday at Portland’s waterfront that officials say could lead to violent clashes seen at previous events.

Portland activist groups Friday morning held a news conference denouncing the actions of far-right groups and demanding answers from elected officials. Shortly after, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler hosted a separate event online with various community leaders titled “Choose Love: A Community Gathering to Denounce Hate and Violence in Portland.”

A third news conference, held online Friday afternoon, saw Wheeler and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell directly address for the first time a “variety of potentially large gatherings,” according to the mayor.

“I want to be clear, no permits have been requested or issued for these events,” Wheeler told reporters.

Such gatherings of right-wing groups previously have drawn opposition from left-wings groups, causing tensions between the two factions to boil over into outright brawls.

Click the link above to read the rest of the story.

A Thousand Portlanders Protest Federal Policing, July 2020

Close to a thousand people of different faiths rallied in downtown Portland Friday to denounce the actions of federal officers in local demonstrations.

The rally came after the actions of federal officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection were heavily scrutinized in response to complaints from Portland protesters.

Protesters have said they were detained by unidentified federal law enforcement officers in unmarked vans, then later released without being charged with a crime. And earlier this week, protesters say an officer show a person in the head with an impact munition.

Reverend Mark Knutsen of Augustana Lutheran Church told the crowd that federal agents have committed violence against peaceful protesters.

“I have found that those who preach law and order are always breaking the laws. They should be in prison,” Knutsen said. “When we talk about indictments, let’s go back to D.C. and see some more of that.”

Click the link above to read the complete story.

New Web Site!

Welcome to the new website for Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance!

Statement Denouncing Antisemitism

Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance
Statement Denouncing Antisemitism
June 2021

In the wake of the May 2021 state violence in Palestine/Israel, Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance (PICR) was one among many justice groups asserting that Palestinian rights are human rights and that state repression is unjust no matter where it occurs. Representing a wide array of faith communities but comprised largely of faith leaders in Jewish and Christian traditions, we asserted:

Together across our faith traditions we are saying, “Never again:” never again will we stand by when our neighbors are being oppressed, never again will we allow our religions to be used to support hate, bigotry, and violence.

We made this claim in solidarity with Palestinians and movements for the rights for all people to be free of state repression. We reject the idea that the need for Jews to live free from fear of antisemitism must come at the expense of Palestinian lives and freedom. We also reject the false binary that solidarity with Palestinian lives and freedom should lead to or engender antisemitism in any form or expression.

The racist and colonialist structures and systems that we decry and challenge as we proclaim that Black Lives Matter, that Palestinian lives matter, that Indigenous lives matter, are the same racist and colonialist systems that fuel antisemitism. The fallacy of antisemitism that casts Jews as racial others and as an existential threat to white Christian nationalism is itself at the core of and fuels white supremacy ideology. Since the May eruption of violence in Palestine and Israel, the incidents of antisemitic attacks has spiked in the United States. These attacks mirror the openly antisemitic slogans and chants of the “Unite the Right” alt-right demonstrators in Charlottesville in August of 2017.

As an interfaith collective of faith leaders, Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance witnesses, supports and participates in movement work for Black and Indigenous Lives. The group was convened by a Portland rabbi after they witnessed the continuing and increasing use of force by the Portland police department at protests for Black Lives, particularly the level of violence and intimidation inflicted upon Black, Indigenous and People of Color. It was the rabbi’s deep commitment to justice as commanded in scripture, that compelled them to organize Portland faith leaders to be a visible presence in the pursuit of justice, to show up and embody the commitments of our faiths towards equity and liberation in solidarity with those who have been oppressed and marginalized, and to decry and work to dismantle the systems and structures that support and fuel that marginalization and oppression.

As a body of faith leaders committed to justice and liberation, we proclaim our solidarity with our Jewish siblings and decry antisemitism. We will not allow attacks on any group of people to divide us or distract us from our witness for racial justice. And we will continue to show up to denounce and resist state and vigilante violence aimed atour Black, Brown, Indigenous siblings and all those targetted by white supremacist violence. We commit to combatting and challenging antisemitism in our world–in our own contexts, our own hearts and minds, and in our movement work.

In our statement in solidarity with Palestinian people, we proclaimed, “Never again,” a slogan used in the aftermath of the Holocaust by liberated prisoners at Buchenwald. In our commitment to solidarity with all who are being oppressed, we do not and will not forget this history. We commit to this memory and to this work: to being in solidarity with all who are oppressed, and to doing the work to combat oppression, to remain vigilant to the ways it manifests in our society, our communities, and in our own hearts and minds, and to join together to imagine and enact a more just world.

Statement on Israel and Palestine

Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance
Statement on Israel and Palestine
May 2021

As faith leaders in the Portland area, Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance stands in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. In the past year, we have experienced in the streets of Portland a tiny fraction of what Palestinians have encountered for decades: a disproportionately violent response by law enforcement to people demanding human rights and just treatment. We see the parallels between the violence of the Israeli and United States governments, both sometimes claiming to follow religious traditions some of us ascribe to, Judaism and Christianity. We see the attempts to dehumanize people around the globe. Palestinian rights are human rights and oppression is unjust no matter where it occurs.

We hold governments responsible for the atrocities of state sanctioned violence, oppression, and occupation, and as interfaith leaders we declare: Not in our name.

Rather than supporting dehumanizing governments, our faith traditions invite us to create communities of belonging and care. We see in our faith traditions people who were dispossessed and displaced, who have been exiled and martyred, who have been excluded and enslaved.

The Jews among us remember our ancestors imprisoned in concentration camps, and we stand against this practice in Gaza, in the West Bank, and in United States ICE facilities. We acknowledge the need for Jews to live free from fear of anti-semitism, and we reject the idea that this must come at the expense of Palestinian lives and freedom.

The Christians among us acknowledge with humility and repentance that it is our ancestors who displaced Indigenous people in the US and elsewhere, white Christians who enslaved Africans, Christians who ran concentration camps in Germany, and Christians who led the Crusades against Muslims. It is also the Christian message that enlivened parts of the Civil Rights Movement and that continues to inspire movements for liberation to this day.

Together across our faith traditions we are saying, “Never again”: never again will we stand by when our neighbors are being oppressed, never again will we allow our religions to be used to support hate, bigotry, and violence.

In this stream, we join in solidarity with all who are being oppressed. We commit to being in the streets and speaking up in all places where we have influence, praying with our bodies and our lives, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Statement to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance
Statement to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

April 2021

Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance affirms our support for our Black, Brown, and Indigenous neighbors in the struggle for liberation from the scourges of racism, poverty, and militarism too long perpetuated by the City of Portland.

We are a collective of faith leaders from throughout Portland — Christian, Jewish, Wiccan, and more; straight and queer, Black, white, Latinx, and of the Asian-American and Pacific Island communities. We are faith leaders who declare ourselves of one voice with our allies who have risen up to denounce the damage Mayor Wheeler does repeatedly to us all in ignoring the roots of the social ills of our city, and thereby exacerbating them, by ignoring the will of his constituents by seeking to expand police power, and by speaking of the value of property rather than that of human life.

We denounce the efforts of the Mayor of Portland to create divisions among members of the Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities; we decry Mayor Wheeler’s attempt to demonize those who express their frustration at being unheard in the streets; we are tired of his empty words and meaningless acts. The mayor surrounds himself with members of the Black community and members of the faith community, yet those with whom he seeks to display a message of common cause do not represent the breadth and diversity of experience and perspective of Black or of faith communities in Portland, nor do they speak for our common cause of liberation.

Enough empty window-dressing, Mayor Wheeler; this is a time to break through such facades which do not serve justice. We have witnessed the deadly combination of incompetence and disinterest in the welfare of the citizens of Portland coming from the mayor’s office for too long now. For nearly a decade Portland’s police have been known to prey upon the mentally ill and the mayor has done nothing to support efforts to redress that terror. His policies ignore the urgency of the social movement that has filled our streets again and again with people desperate for change. His heart seems to be too small to empathize with the human beings who are gassed by his police, who continue to use weapons of war outlawed by the Geneva convention, and whose militaristic violence bruises, batters, and maims Portland’s citizens.

Wearing black is not a criminal act. Protesting is a sacred constitutional right. We are aghast at Mayor Wheeler’s disregard for the social injustice fueling the actions on Portland’s streets.

⁦A day is coming! We affirm the words of our allies who spoke in front of city hall on Saturday, April 24: the forces of justice are marching, and they will not cease to march. And we will be with them, witnessing and lifting up their holy call for justice.

“Justice, justice you must pursue if you would thrive.” — Deuteronomy 16.20

Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance

Twitter @PDXICR
Instagram PDXInterfaithClergyResistance

Faith leaders stand in solidarity at Justice Center

From, June 7, 2020

Faith leaders from across the Portland metro area stood in solidarity with protesters outside the Justice Center Sunday night.

The Portland NAACP Religious Services Committee and the Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance joined together for the demonstration downtown—the event began around 8 p.m. In a location that has been a flash-point for protesters and police, the clergy brought a sense of calm to at least one area of Chapman Square.

“We are to be a force of peace-keeping, common sense, and balance, while supporting the right of freedom of speech and expression and protests,” said Reverend Dr. Steven Bailey of Celebration Tabernacle. “This morning, the mayor and the police chief both called our senior pastor and asked that he bring a bunch of pastors down tonight, to see if we could help influence staying more focused on the importance of this.”

Leaders took turns speaking to the crowd and sang songs from the civil rights era together. In their speeches, the clergy denounced police violence and demanded equality and liberty for Black lives.

“We plan on standing here throughout the evening—it’s a lot of fencing,” said another clergy member.

Bailey described the protests as “a watershed moment” for the City of Portland. They said they supported the people’s right to assemble freely without fear of attack by police using war weapons.

Portland Interfaith Clergy Manifesto

FROM: Portland Interfaith Clergy
TO: Mayor Ted Wheeler
RE: Excessive use of force by Portland Police

March 2017

“Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may live” – Deuteronomy 16.20

We, a group of clergy representing communities of faith throughout the City of Portland, are writing to voice our dismay at the excessive use of force by the Portland Police Department, and to speak out for the well-being of all people in this city.

In the spirit of the ethical teachings we share, foundational to our various religious traditions, we urge you to consider that no society thrives that does not protect and serve all its inhabitants with equal care. All human beings are equal in the sight of God; all human beings deserve respect and compassion. This is our unwavering belief.

We are alarmed by first-hand accounts and video footage, which shows a disproportionately aggressive police response to the constitutionally protected gatherings of Portland residents.
We were especially dismayed by the police response to peaceful gatherings on October 12th, 2016, when dozens of injured people were denied medical aid by the PPB, and on January 20th, 2017, when hundreds of demonstrators were exposed to chemical agents, and bystanders were repeatedly injured (1) and again on February 20th, 2017, when police charged into crowds of demonstrators standing on the sidewalk, dragging them into the street and swinging their batons like baseball bats.

We are appalled to learn the nature of the weapons used against those exercising their First Amendment rights, specifically the use of Stinger Grenades, SabreRed Pepper-spray, Kinetic Impact Projectiles, the LRAD sound weapon, and CS Gas, commonly referred to as tear gas. (2)

We are deeply concerned by the lack of communication from the Portland Police Bureau regarding the weapons used at demonstrations. Despite Police protocols, which require PPB to report the use of these types of weapons to EMS personnel, medical responders are regularly uninformed about the use of chemical agents and less-lethal munitions. (3)

We find it unacceptable that Portland Police officers are singling out and targeting street medics, who are working to treat and manage the injuries caused by Portland Police officers. Prompt and competent care of injured parties is crucial, and the disruption of medical support infrastructure at protests significantly increases the risk of serious injury or death at the hands of Bureau officers.

We are extremely concerned by the psychological and moral toll such police behavior is taking on those who march peaceably, and on those who witness this police behavior. We are also gravely worried by its effect on those police who are asked to perpetrate this violence.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” – Matthew 5:9

We call upon the Mayor to

Immediately ban the use of Stinger Grenades, SabreRed, and Kinetic Impact Projectiles in crowd control situations.

Immediately ban the use of launchers for CS or other gas canisters.

Require direct personal authorization for the use of CN or CS gas in crowd control situations by either the police chief, or the police commissioner, in every instance of its use.

Require the PPB to immediately report any use of chemical or less-lethal weapons to ALL local emergency rooms, clinics, AMR, Portland Fire, and any other relevant EMS agencies.

Demand the PPB allow street medics and other responders to treat injured parties free of continued or targeted harassment by officers.

Demand that PPB respond to unpermitted marches or rallies in the same way they respond to permitted marches, by protecting demonstrators from traffic and respecting the exercise of citizens’ First Amendment rights. The Constitution of the United States protects the right to free speech and peaceful assembly, and the procurement of an arbitrary and expensive permit should not be the difference between friendly officers on bikes in pink hats and hundreds of heavily armored officers carrying weapons and lobbing grenades.

Hand over the duties of Police Commissioner to another member of the City Council. We believe that the Mayor in charge of the Police Bureau creates an irreconcilable conflict of interest, which mitigates against reform efforts. Assigning a Police Commissioner will enhance the ability of the Mayor’s Office to act as a neutral party in these matters.

All major faith traditions of the world teach non-violence as the only path to lasting peace and reconciliation within communities. Those who have taken up the cause of justice, equality, and peace throughout history and around the world, have also taught us that only through non-violence can justice at last be achieved. The escalation of violence, even in the name of upholding the law, only leads to further violence, fear, and hatred. Every individual is created in the image of God. As people of faith, we are called to love one another—neighbors, strangers, and even enemies—and have compassion for all who feel called to publicly express their convictions about justice in our communities.

We call upon the Mayor to uphold the principles of justice, public morality, and essential human dignity inherent in every human being, on behalf of all Portland residents. We invite the Mayor to sit with us and hear our concerns. Please contact Rabbi Stone of the Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance at (503)806-5531 to set up a meeting.


The committee:

Rabbi Dr. Ariel Stone, Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance and Rabbi of Congregation Shir Tikvah

Reverend Tara Wilkins, Bridgeport United Church of Christ and ED, Community of Welcoming Congregations

Rabbi Debra Kolodny J.D., Portland UnShul and ED, Resolutions NW

Reverend Dr. Barbara Campbell, Presbyterian Church USA

Rabbi Brian Mayer — Religion-Outside-The-Box
Rev. Courtney McHill — Rose City Park United Methodist Church
Rev. Joshua Dunham — Moreland Presbyterian Church
Rev. Elizabeth Durant — First Congregational United Church of Christ
Priestess Blaed Spence — Reclaiming (Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles communities); recognized chapters of the Reclaiming Collective International
Rabbi Daniel Isaak – Emeritus, Congregation Neveh Shalom
Rev. Audrey Schindler —First Presbyterian Church
Rabbi Joey Wolf – Havurah Shalom
Rev. Domyo Burk – Bright Way Zen
Rev. Lynne Smouse López, Ainsworth United Church of Christ
Rabbi Benjamin Barnett – Havurah Shalom
Rev. Abigail Clauhs, Affiliated Community Minister, First Unitarian Church of Portland
Rev. Kerlin Richter, Saint David of Wales Episcopal Church
Davina Bookbinder, Rabbinic Student – Congregation Shir Tikvah
The Rev. Cecil Charles Prescod – Ainsworth United Church of Christ
Rev. Aric Clark – Sherwood United Methodist Church and Mt. Home United Methodist Church
Rabbi Abby Cohen
Rev. Nathan Meckley – Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) Portland
Rev. Dr. Amanda Zentz-Alo
The Rev. Jason Chesnut
Rev. Dr. Brandy Daniels


1. One woman was struck in the face by an officer while leaving a restaurant and another man was shot multiple times with Kinetic Impact Projectiles after having been given express permission to pass through a police line.

2. Stinger Grenades, which upon exploding emit a spray of 15-30 rubber pellets, each roughly the size of a marble. These pellets are covered in chemical agents, agents which are sometimes modified to contain CS or CN gas, both of which are prohibited for use in international warfare by the international Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, with established precedent in the Geneva Convention. The pellets are designed to traumatize the skin to the point that the chemicals covering the pellets can enter the bloodstream, causing significant pain and trauma.

SabreRed Pepper-spray, a Grade 3 pepper-spray which contains the highest possible concentrations of capsaicin, and is currently banned in 9 states. It is over four times more toxic than pepper-spray available for individual use (Grade 1).

Kinetic Impact Projectiles, commonly referred to as ‘Rubber’ or ‘Plastic’ bullets. These “less-lethal” munitions can still result in fatalities, and regularly cause significant injury. In a study conducted by British physicians, 90 instances of the use of KIPs were recorded. Those 90 incidents resulted in 1 fatality, 17 permanent disabilities, 41 injuries requiring long-term hospitalization, and a 70% rate of injuries rated as critical or severe by responding medical personnel.

CS Gas, commonly referred to as Tear gas, which can have devastating effects on the respiratory system, especially in people already suffering from respiratory conditions such as Asthma or COPD. As previously stated, CS gas is prohibited for use in international warfare by the international Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, and we are deeply concerned by its use to suppress protests. CS Gas is also uncontrollable after it has been deployed, and on January 20th wafted multiple blocks away from the deployment site near Pioneer square. People reported exposure to it as far east as Voodoo Donuts on 2nd Avenue, and North to where over a dozen people sleeping at Right To Dream Too were exposed to its effects. Its repeated use by the Portland Police Bureau in densely populated areas should be extremely concerning to all citizens.

CS Gas is also sometimes deployed via a grenade launcher, which means firing heavy metal projectiles directly into crowds of unarmed/unprotected people. One woman on January 20th was struck in the head by one of these CS Gas canisters, resulting in a severe concussion and over 3-inch laceration to her scalp.

3. As of February 27th, the Fire Department had not been provided with the chemical SDS sheets for any of these munitions, in violation of at least 2 Federal regulations including ENCRA. Local area hospitals and clinics have never been briefed on or informed about instance of use or treatment protocols for these weapons, and Use of Force reports have not been filed for weapons used at demonstrations.