Authorities Suspect Pro-Police Portland Mayoral Candidate Targeted In Car Fire

Investigators said this week that a fire outside of Portland mayoral candidate and City Commissioner Rene Gonzalez’s home may have been intentionally set for political reasons. 

Early Friday morning, a car belonging to a family member of Gonzalez was found on fire outside of his home. After the fire was put out, police said it may have been arson. Gonzalez is a Democrat who ran for public office on a platform of cracking down on homelessness and increasing police funding.

“Acts of political violence and acts of political vandalism are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Commissioner Gonzalez and everyone else in a public leadership role is here to serve this community because they love this community,” Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt said. 

“Everybody is free to agree or disagree with me, the Commissioner, or any public servant or political candidate. But threats, vandalism, arson, violence, or any other form of illegal coercion will not be tolerated. If confirmed arson, we will find and prosecute those responsible for this act to the fullest extent of the law,” Schmidt added. 

Gonzalez thanked the fire department for their quick response after they called to report the fire. 

“Thanks to the prompt response of Portland Fire & Rescue, the fire was unable to spread to any neighboring homes or vehicles. My neighborhood is filled with both families and seniors, and we must do everything in our power to protect them. I am grateful that nobody was physically harmed as a result of this incident,” he said. 

Gonzalez, who is challenging several other city commissioners to replace far-Left Mayor Ted Wheeler in 2024 is considered the moderate in the race. 

During his campaign for commissioner in 2022, Gonzalez said that he wanted to hire hundreds of more police, increase arrests for shoplifting and trespassing, and get all of the homeless people off the streets and into a shelter. He was also attacked by fellow Democrats for his advocacy for schools to reopen during COVID.

“If you’re doing crimes in the city of Portland, I don’t care if you’re unsheltered, I don’t care if you’re an addict or suffer [from] mental illness,” he told Oregon Public Broadcasting in 2022, “You will start in the criminal justice system.”

Portland has been plagued by homelessness, drug use, and crime in recent years at the same time many officials have pushed soft-on crime policies.

“I think Portland went so far Left that we see and feel that the future of our city’s at stake,” he said. “I don’t think Portland can continue to be a functioning city if it continues on the path it’s going,” Gonzalez said in 2022.

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