Peaceful protest is foundational to the history of our nation and of our community. The freedom of assembly and expression is a cornerstone of our Democracy.

Last night, what started as a peaceful protest ended in violence and vandalism. While this was caused by a small group of individuals among thousands, such a conclusion is unacceptable. None of us – activists, business owners, or the community at large – can afford for this to happen again.

People are hurting. The best response to pain is healing. People are scared. The best response to fear is peace. Portland is an example to the nation, indeed the world. Let’s make that example an unequivocally positive one. We can all help.

Some people are volunteering to clean up. Others are pledging to support the local businesses that were impacted. If your group is planning to protest, the Police Bureau requests that you communicate with them for everyone’s safety.

I encourage all of us to use our time to become more engaged with our neighbors, to congregate together in our parks, barbershops, coffee shops and places of worship and meditation. Make a point not just to listen, but to understand.

Portland is a city for everyone. Everyone should be welcome here. Everyone should be safe here. These ideals only matter if we can continue to live them in the toughest of times. We must live them now.