EUGENE, Ore. -- Property owners in downtown Eugene began sweeping up the shattered remains of their businesses Saturday morning after hundreds of rioters rampaged through parts of the city last night.
Several hundred people gathered near Washington Street and Seventh Avenue around 10 p.m. By 1 a.m., Starbucks, Jimmy Johns, Five Guys, and T-Mobile were all destroyed. A fire briefly broke out inside the Starbucks but was put out by other protesters.
Eugene police said individuals were spotted inside a convenience store, and the Hunky Dory smoke shop and dispensary was looted.
Protesters were also seen breaking in a car's windows and attempting to pull the driver out.
A fire hydrant at Seventh and Lawrence was opened, flooding the streets.
At least one Dumpster was set on fire.
Eugene police did not arrive on scene until around 1 a.m., when they fired tear gas at the crowd. Police then retreated, and protesters continued looting and causing damage.
Eventually, the protesters moved east on Seventh, then turned south on Charnelton, then east again on Broadway. Police set up a barricade near Kesey Square and fired more tear gas into the crowd.
“What is happening tonight is not a legitimate, free speech event,” Police Chief Chris Skinner said. “It is illegal, irresponsible, is destroying local business and city property. It threatens the reputation of other peaceful and lawful events that don’t damage our city and put our residents and guests in harm’s way.”
According to police, the night's events began with a small group of people who gathered outside the Lane County Courthouse around 8 p.m. to protest the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died while being arrested by police. Around 9 p.m. the crowd began moving west.
This is a developing story. Stay with KEZI 9 News for the latest.