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Eugene Mayor Expresses Support for Peaceful Protesters, Condemns Vandalism

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City of Eugene
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Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis released a public statement on Sunday, the day after a demonstration in downtown Eugene turned into a riot.

In the statement, Vinis said she supports the more than 500 people who “gathered peacefully in solidarity with the city of Portland” on Saturday, and she expressed gratitude “to Eugene Police for their efforts to protect life and property in our community while allowing people to protest.”

She went on to condemn the actions of a counter protestor who fired a gun in the air and was later taken into police custody. Vinis described that act as “illegal, dangerous, and unacceptable.” She also called out the small group of people who caused damage to downtown businesses. Vinis said “we will continue to reach out to find a path to turn the corner from protest demands to constructive engagement in local solutions.”

Vinis and Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner will hold a joint press conference Monday morning. Tune to KLCC for continued coverage.

Statement from Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis, Sunday, July 26, 2020:

I want to express my support for those who gathered peacefully in solidarity with the City of Portland, my gratitude to Eugene Police for their efforts to protect life and property in our community while allowing people to protest, and to share in the frustration and sadness that our local businesses once again have borne the brunt of unnecessary violence and damage.

Last night over 500 people were able to assemble and peacefully demonstrate for more than three hours. I understand there were tense moments. I appreciate that for the most part, people in our community can find ways to peacefully manage those interactions. I am very grateful that the police were able to arrest the counter protester who fired a gun in the midst of that event. That display of violence is illegal, dangerous and unacceptable. It is not welcome here.

After those protests, a smaller group of people moved through our downtown and began damaging local businesses and buildings, creating a volatile and dangerous situation for members of the public and our police and hurting our own local employers and workplaces. This group was not associated with the Black Lives Matter group of peaceful protesters but acted on their own.

This behavior is also unacceptable and does not reflect our community. It is contrary to the progress of so many who are trying to create meaningful change.

I understand there is anger and there is urgency. I understand this work cannot go fast enough and we must work harder and faster to address systemic racism and police reform.

Destroying and defacing our city does not move this work forward any faster. It is counterproductive. It is not the path our city will take.

We will continue to reach out to find a path to turn the corner from protest demands to constructive engagement in local solutions. We will not be deterred from that critical work. We will continue to chart a path that makes us better together.

Love Cross joined KLCC in 2017. She began her public radio career as a graduate student, serving as Morning Edition Host for Boise State Public Radio in the late 1990s. She earned her undergraduate degree in Rhetoric and Communication from University of California at Davis, and her Master’s Degree from Boise State University. In addition to her work in public radio, Love teaches college-level courses in Communication and Public Speaking.