People sifting through food that had just been discarded by a Fred Meyer store after a power failure in Portland, Ore.


The police responded to a Fred Meyer grocery store in Portland that had tossed its refrigerated food after a winter storm knocked out power throughout the city, infuriating residents.


Lobster tails. Tiramisù. Pounds and pounds of red meat and hot dogs.


The dumpsters outside a grocery store in Portland, Ore., were filled with food that employees had tossed after a snow and ice storm over the weekend knocked out power at the store.


Soon, a small group began forming in the parking lot, angry that so much food was being thrown away in a city where more than 300,000 customers had lost power and where homelessness is a major concern.


Portland police officers outside a Fred Meyer grocery store after a group of people confronted employees who had thrown out refrigerated food. (在一群人与丢弃冷冻食品的员工发生对峙后,波特兰警察站在弗雷德迈耶食品店外。)

In an interview on Wednesday, Mckniff — who had lost power over the weekend, was out of food and wanted to get something to grill outside — said there were nine employees standing outside the dumpsters.


Mckniff began filming and asked the employees if they were guarding the dumpsters. An employee said to stop filming or the police would be called.


By the time the police arrived, about 15 to 20 people had gathered in the parking lot, Mckniff said.


“Our store team became concerned that area residents would consume the food and risk food-borne illness, and they engaged local law enforcement out of an abundance of caution,” the statement said.


Kroger, which has touted its commitment to “Zero Hunger” and “Zero Waste,” laments on its website that many Americans struggle with hunger while “40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. is thrown away.”


The company donates 5.5 million pounds of surplus food a year, it said in the statement.


At one point on Tuesday, there were about a dozen officers outside the grocery store, including three officers in training.


Mckniff said the police had threatened to use physical force if the activists did not leave.


The Portland Police Bureau said in its statement that no one had been arrested or injured and that no force had been used.


The police said they had stayed for about an hour and had left when it appeared that the crowd was moving away from the employees.


Emboldened, the activists headed for the dumpsters.


The police said they had been called again to the store but did not return.


“Police supervisors decided that unless there was an imminent threat to life or threat of serious injury, police would remain away,” the police said.


“I still haven’t processed mentally the waste that was there,” they said.


Mckniff said that at one point, people had laid the food out on the sidewalk so passers-by could walk up and take it. One woman made four trips to the dumpsters to get enough for families in need.


Much of the food went to fill 11 community refrigerators that are set up around the city, Mckniff said.


Grabbing the food from the dumpster felt liberating, Mckniff said.


“All we wanted was for them to walk away and leave us alone,” they said. “If you’re not going to help people, at least stand aside so that we can.”