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Police in Portland blocked residents from collecting disposed food out of supermarket dumpsters amid power outages, reports say

INSIDER logoINSIDER 2/17/2021 (Taylor Ardrey)
a variety of fruits and vegetables on display at a fruit stand: Shutterstock © Shutterstock Shutterstock
  • Police in Portland blocked people from collecting food that was thrown away, KOIN reported.
  • The items were discarded at a Fred Meyer location amid power outages from the winter storm, the report said.
  • A Fred Meyer spokesperson told KOIN the food was disposed of because "not safe for consumption."
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Police in Portland, Oregon, blocked people from taking food that was thrown away by a local supermarket on Tuesday, according to local news. 

As Portland's KOIN reported, a Fred Meyer supermarket located in Northeast Portland faced a power outage due to the winter storm. Sealed food items were discarded in dumpsters near the store, where people in the neighborhood who may have also lost power arrived to recover the perishable around 2:30 p.m., according to The Oregonian.

A local resident, Morgan Mckniff, who was filming at the scene, told the outlet that supermarket staff was initially blocking the dumpsters and even told people they would call the police. 

According to the report, as people were still trying to gather items, a group of police officer s- including one who wasn't wearing a face mask at first - responded to the area.

Another person who was there and made a thread on Twitter about the incident, Juniper Simonis, told the publication that the officers threatened to detain people. However, when the officers left the scene, those who were standing by were able to collect some food later that night, the Oregonian reported. 


"The people who were there weren't there for selfish reasons - they were there to get food to distribute to hungry people around the city," Simonis told The Oregonian. "There are mutual aid groups that have been helping feed people at warming centers because the city doesn't have enough resources to feed them."


In a statement to KOIN, a Fred Meyer spokesperson said that "some perishable food that requires refrigeration at our Hollywood store was out of temperature for a protracted period of time. This was due to a weather-related power outage and it is not safe for consumption. Out of an abundance of caution, we are disposing of the product to keep people safe. We engaged law enforcement, as the safety of our associates and customers is always our top priority."

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