Governor Kate Brown on Friday announced a law enforcement plan to keep the peace and protect free speech in the City of Portland this weekend. With the support of other local elected officials, the Governor is exercising her executive authority under ORS Chapter 401 to create a joint incident command structure, with Superintendent of State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff in charge of public safety in Portland this weekend.
“As we head into the weekend, we are aware that white supremacist groups from out of town, including the Proud Boys, are planning a rally on Saturday in Portland,” said Governor Brown. “Significant crowds of people are expected to join—some people will be armed, with others ready to harass or intimidate Oregonians. Many are from out of state. These types of demonstrations in the past have often ended in fistfights, and sometimes escalated to bloodshed.
“In America, we have the right to peacefully assemble, and everyone in Oregon has a right to express themselves freely—even those who the vast majority of Oregonians would deeply disagree with. However, the First Amendment does not give anyone license to hurt or kill someone because of opposing political views."
The Governor added: "The Superintendent and the Sheriff will work closely with the Portland Police Chief to keep people safe this weekend.
“When free expression is fueled by hate, and coupled with an intention to incite violence, then I need to do everything I can as Governor to ensure the public safety of Oregonians. We will not tolerate that violence and tragedy this weekend. Violence is never the answer. Violence never brings anyone over to your side. Instead, violence only deepens divisions.”
The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office and Oregon State Police released the following statement:
The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police are committed to the safety and well-being of the communities we serve. We strongly support the right to demonstrate and for people to use their individual and collective voices to express grief, outrage and a call for action.
Protests are among the most difficult events to manage in policing today. Police have a responsibility to safeguard the right of people to assemble and engage in free speech, while balancing other rights guaranteed in our Constitution, including maintaining public order by preventing criminal behavior, such as assaults, rioting, arson and other illegal activity.
We appreciate Governor Kate Brown’s decision this morning to use her executive authority to direct the Oregon State Police (OSP) and Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) to lead crowd management response efforts in Multnomah County this weekend. Under this directive, all law enforcement across Multnomah County will operate under a unified command structure. This type of structure allows agencies to respond to crowd management situations and emergencies with immediacy and consistency, ensuring resources from a number of agencies across the county are readily available and allows agencies to communicate and coordinate more effectively.
For all protests this weekend in Multnomah County, regardless of political affiliation, our message is clear, do not engage in criminal conduct. For people who attend the events, leave your weapons behind. Racism is not welcome in Oregon. Hate and division are not welcome in Oregon. Violence is not welcome in Oregon.
Police will maintain a highly visible presence to ensure public safety. Our goal is to keep the peace, and we encourage those who gather, to do so peacefully.