Portland, Oregon - In a city that still remembers the 1988 beating death of Mulugeta Seraw by three racists, a recent downtown shooting may thrust the issue of white supremacist violence into the forefront of public consciousness once again.
A local anti-racist organization claims that the early morning shooting in downtown Portland on March 27, whose survivor remains in Intensive Care,
was most likely an attempted murder by one or more neo-Nazis. The victim of the shooting, Luke Querner, is an entrenched and beloved figure in the
anti-racist community. He has devoted over a decade of his life to opposing Portland's white power movement.
Luke Querner was shot at approximately 12:20AM on Saturday morning, in an unprovoked attack on SW 5th Avenue, between Stark and Washington Street.
The shooting appears to have been well-orchestrated; the assailant concealed his identity, fleeing at least initially by foot in a closely-surveilled area.
The attempted murder of Querner occurs in the context of escalating activity from a racist underground that believes it can operate with impunity. The past half year has been one of increasing audacity from local white supremacists, with organizations such as Volksfront, the Northwest Front and the National Socialist Movement drawing closer together. Members of these and similar organizations--as well as cliques on their periphery--share information about anti-racists and the Left, and have been increasing their actions against such targets.
Portland Anti-Racist Action believes that the attempted murder of Querner was a political act, most likely by neo-Nazis. To treat this violence as gang-related obscures its political context and almost certainly misses its point. The shooting seems designed to send a message and to intimidate anti-racists. Portland ARA criticizes the police's choice to release Querner's name on Sunday, placing him at further risk. The organization also questions the police portrayal of the shooting, which frames the incident as near-random, rather than as an act of political terror and attempted assassination. Querner was shot because of his convictions, the group believes.
"The Portland Police aren't telling the whole story" states Alicia of Portland ARA, "They have not mentioned the most obvious motive for the shooting. We fear that they are more interested in smearing the victim than in uncovering the truth. Our thoughts go out to Luke right now."
An expanded statement with further details surrounding the shooting is available on the website: rosecityantifa.org. Information on how to contribute to Querner's medical bills and related expenses may also be found on this site. Portland Anti-Racist Action continues to be interested in any and all information related to white supremacist organizing in Portland and its vicinity.
For more information, please contact Portland Anti-Racist Action at firstname.lastname@example.org or 971.533.7832 (voicemail.)