Meanwhile in Portland: Police Guard Dumpster Against Hungry Crowd, Sparks Curiosity As to How Those Stimulus Checks Are Going

Circus magnate P.T. Barnum once said, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” Well, he never met the Stumptown police. After winter storms caused a major power outage this week, Portland officers showed up at a Hollywood grocery store to literally protect a dumpster full of food from a roving pack of Good Samaritans. From an optics point of view, yeah, it didn’t look great for the cops.

The crowd of do-gooders had gathered behind a Fred Meyer to repurpose a dumpster full of perishables, collecting hundreds of pounds of meat, cheese, and juice for hungry mouths at the nearby warming shelters. Employees of the store warned the spoiled food was not fit for consumption, but when the crowd argued the snow had kept the food cold, the fuzz was called in.

Juniper Simonis, a local activist and researcher who’d posted photos of the Fred Meyer treasure trove on Twitter said cops threatened to arrest the well-meaning raiders.

“I’m just interacting with officers and trying to get their information, and then they say, ‘We’re going to arrest you if you don’t leave,’ and threatened me with trespassing,” Simonis told the Oregonian.

The Portland Police Bureau took a different position, stating, “The food was unfit for consumption or donation. Officers tried to explain this to the group of people. No subject in the crowd was willing to have an open dialogue with the officers and continued to shout insults at them and store employees.”

Nice try, Portland police.

Perhaps the difference of opinion came down to one thing: Survival. As millions suffer the consequences of a mismanaged pandemic and sluggish economy, food has become a scarcity for many. And with stimulus checks barely covering half a month’s rent, folks are taking matters into their own hands.

In the end, however, seeing no imminent threat, officers left the scene and failed to return subsequent calls from the employees who couldn’t stand seeing all that food go to… what’s the opposite of waste again? Yep: We’re pretty sure even cops know bad publicity when they see it. After all, it’s not a crime to eat.

Cover Photo: Juniper Simonis (Twitter)

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