Stomachs churn after Portland police face-off with crowd picking through mountain of food… tossed during power outage (PHOTOS)

Portland, Oregon has made headlines after police were called in to stop people from rummaging through a dumpster full of food that allegedly spoiled due to a power outage. Social media users found the incident hard to stomach.

A power outage caused by a winter storm that has wreaked havoc on multiple US states prompted a supermarket to discard perishable items deemed unsafe due to lack of proper refrigeration. After two dumpsters were filled with meat, dairy and other items, a small group of people began to form in the store’s parking lot, apparently angry that so much food was being discarded. Photographs show some people picking through the dumpsters in search of a free meal. 

An employee of the grocery store called 911 after fearing that the situation could escalate into violence, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) said in a statement. Officers arrived at the scene and after consulting with the store’s workers, tried to explain to the group that the food was not fit for consumption and could not be donated. The PPB claimed that no one in the crowd was “willing to have an open dialogue” and instead taunted the officers and employees. 

The crowd grew to about 50 people before officers warned them to leave the area or risk being arrested for trespassing on private property. The dumpster divers dispersed but later returned to the site after officers left, the PPB said. Police declined to respond to a second call from the store, deciding that the situation did not pose an “imminent threat to life or threat of serious injury.”

The standoff was picked up by national media, resulting in an avalanche of social media commentary. 

Numerous Twitter users argued that the grocery store was simply trying to protect itself from potential litigation, noting that the business could suffer serious consequences for giving away food that was later deemed unsafe to eat.

Others felt that the altercation showed a clear lack of empathy and that there was no justification for calling the cops. It was outrageous to allow so much food to go to waste, many argued. 

“Just let them eat!” urged one observer. 

Journalist Andy Ngo, who writes about the activities of Antifa activists in Portland and other US cities, suggested that the police were called because the crowd nearly “rioted.”

Portland has seen regular confrontations between far-left activists and police in recent months. On Friday, protesters pelted police with snowballs as they marched through the city, damaging several businesses along the way. 

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