Freelance reporter on ‘alt-right’ arrested for vandalism, arson

Former freelance reporter Mike Bivins was arrested Friday and charged with vandalism and arson in connection with a week-long spree of acts against two Jewish synagogues and a mosque.

Bivins, 34, was booked into jail early Saturday on one count of arson in the first degree and three counts of criminal mischief in the first degree.

He is accused of breaking a window at Congregation Shir Tikvah in Northeast Portland on April 30, throwing a rock through another window and painting anti-Semitic graffiti at Congregation Beth Israel in Northwest Portland on May 2 and 4, and setting a fire at the Muslim Community Center of Portland on May 3.

Police looked at security video of a masked man pouring accelerant on the mosque and lighting a fire, which eventually led them to Bivins.

Background

Police said Bivins entered the KPTV Fox 12 television station in Beaverton on Friday, demanding to talk to a reporter. He was arrested at the police station.

The investigation is ongoing and police said more charges, including federal ones, could be forthcoming.

Rabbi Michael Cahana of Congregation Beth Israel was “very grateful” to law enforcement agencies for working to find the person responsible for the attacks, he said.

Bivins wrote for the Willamette Week until 2019, and the outlet is now reviewing his published work.

He also wrote for Eugene Weekly and livestreamed protests; he mostly covered alt-right clashes with leftist protesters.

Banned by Twitter

The Willamette Week reported that Bivins’ recent Twitter posts had been more erratic and extreme during the pandemic, and had spoken against immigrants.

Twitter eventually locked his account around April 17 for violating its policies, and Bivins posted about being locked out of the platform.

He was struck by a munition during a protest in 2021, and filed a tort claim against the Federal Protective Service.

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