A large fence U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement built to keep protestors away from its southwest Portland facility was constructed without proper permits, Portland city officials said Monday.
Now ICE’s wall might have to come down.
The city’s Bureau of Development Services issued a correction notice to ICE on Monday, after inspecting the fence. The structure was erected last week, following weeks of protest outside the southwest Portland facility.
“Upon examination, the inspector found that the fence was more than eight feet tall, which is a violation of Oregon Structural Specialty Code,” the city of Portland said in a statement. “A formal letter will be sent to the property owner. The property owner is required to respond to the correction notice within 10 days of receipt.”
After ICE built the fence last week, the city received a complaint that it obstructed too much of the public sidewalk. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is investigating the complaint, the agency says. But that issue did not pertain to the notice issued Monday.
According to BDS spokesman Thomas Ngo, the notice was issued by an inspector who was in the neighborhood and “noticed the fence was way too high.”
The issue is not merely the height, Ngo said, but that federal officials didn’t obtain permits to build a fence that is more than 7 feet tall.
The city’s citation is notable in part because Chloe Eudaly, the city commissioner who oversees code enforcement, has been a vocal critic of federal immigration policy and has expressed support for the camp. But Eudaly’s chief of staff, Marshall Runkel, said Monday that she hadn’t directed the inspector to visit the site.
Citing Monday's arrest of two protestors by federal officers, Runkel said, “I can tell you that the fence is providing some useful functions. It’s a dangerous situation down there.”
Runkel said he spoke with a local official with the Department of Homeland Security earlier Monday.
The ICE facility has been the site of round-the-clock protests since June 17, when a small camp formed on adjacent property owned by TriMet and several other public agencies. The camp soon exploded to include dozens of tents, prompting federal officials to temporarily cease activity at the building.
When regular operation at the facility resumed July 3, federal officials built the fence.
Ngo, the city spokesman, said his bureau would send a formal letter about the violation to the owner of the property in coming days. But he’s not expecting ICE to act anytime soon.
“They’ll probably just keep it up anyway,” he said.