“We’re extremely disappointed (that the building reopened),” said a 28-year-old protester named Jet, who declined to give his full name.
“We were hoping that the occupation would have sent the message that Portland has had enough of seeing our neighbors torn away and our families torn apart,” Jet said. “But we understand that this day was coming eventually. It was ultimately part of it. At this point we’re just looking forward to the next steps of trying to continue the momentum of this movement and continue to see it spread nationwide.”
A metal barrier now separates protesters’ tent encampment from the entrance of the ICE building, which was cleared last week by federal agents. The sprawling encampment behind the facility remains untouched.
ICE said it has resumed its regular schedule at the office and that deportation officers will be in touch with people who missed appointments.
About a half dozen Department of Homeland Security officers stood guard Tuesday. American Civil Liberties Union legal observers stood by as cars and people moved in and out of the facility.
“I’m counting the numbers who are coming in and the numbers who are coming out; observing the numbers of cars coming in,” said Cecile Baril, a volunteer ACLU legal observer standing next to the encampment. Baril said about 15 to 20 people had entered the building Tuesday morning.
“I’ve seen young, Hispanic people go in and come out,” Baril said. “Some of them are parents with children, and some of them are mothers with children. Some of them are young adults, some of them are probably in their 40s.”
Protesters began their occupation around the ICE office June 17 in response to the Trump administration’s practice of separating children from their parents at the border.
DHS has said it was only prioritizing the clearing of federally-leased property occupied by protestors. That does not include the backside of the building where the encampment remains. Much of that area is owned by a consortium that includes the city of Portland, city of Lake Oswego, Clackamas County, Metro and TriMet.
“The Willamette Shore Trolley right-of-way continues to be blocked by protesters and others who are camping on and along the tracks in the South Waterfront area,” said Roberta Altstadt, a TriMet spokesperson.
“TriMet continues to appeal to the organizers of the protest to please move from the trackway as their protest is not about the trolley, rather about the operations of the facility next to it. Organizers of the camp now set up on the trackway have not agreed to move,” Altstadt said.
OPB’s Dirk VanderHart contributed to this report.