Updated: January 17. This story has been updated with additional information.

Portland police are investigating an early morning arson at the home of City Commissioner Rene Gonzalez.

According to police and the commissioner's staff, a car parked in front of Gonzalez’s home in the Eastmoreland neighborhood caught fire just after 1:30 am Friday.

A Portland Fire & Rescue crew responded, and confirmed they believed the car fire was intentionally set.

The vehicle, a white 2024 Honda Accord owned by the Gonzalez family, was unoccupied at the time and no one was injured. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze and keep it from spreading. 

Along with firefighters, police and a fire investigator were dispatched to the scene.

“Thanks to the prompt response of Portland Fire & Rescue, the fire was unable to spread to any neighboring homes or vehicles,” Gonzalez said in a statement released to media Friday. “My neighborhood is filled with both families and seniors, and we must do everything in our power to protect them. I am grateful that nobody was physically harmed as a result of this incident. My family is deeply appreciative of the outpouring of concern today from neighbors and colleagues and the prompt response and assistance from Portland Police.”

The commissioner’s staff indicated enhanced security measures are being taken, for “the commissioner, his family, neighbors, and staff.”

On Saturday, a staffer confirmed the commissioner's house is getting upgraded security cameras.

Commissioner Rene Gonzalez, who oversees Portland's fire bureau,
visits a Southeast Portland fire station in 2023. courtney vaughn

Gonzalez, who was elected to Portland City Council in 2022, currently serves as fire commissioner and oversees community safety. Gonzalez is currently running for mayor in the November general election. After the fire, he took to social media, using news of the arson to boost his mayoral campaign fundraising.

Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps, who serves alongside Gonzalez on council and is also running for mayor, called the news “horrifying” and referred to the incident an act of “political violence.”

Authorities have not identified a suspect or motive for the arson, but Multnomah District Attorney Mike Schmidt also released a statement last week, suggesting the fire was politically motivated. 

"Acts of political violence and acts of political vandalism are unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Schmidt stated. “Everybody is free to agree or disagree with me, the Commissioner, or any public servant or political candidate. But threats, vandalism, arson, violence, or any other form of illegal coercion will not be tolerated. If confirmed arson, we will find and prosecute those responsible for this act to the fullest extent of the law."

On Monday, a blog post on an anonymous local anarchist site indicated anarchists claimed responsibility for the arson, citing, among other things, Gonzalez's decision during last year's winter storm to ban Portland Street Response from handing out tents or tarps to unhoused people. "The timing of the attack was intentional," the post notes. The credibility of the claim has not been verified.

The DA's Office didn't respond to questions about whether any anarchist group or individual was being investigated for the arson.