Governor Kate Brown Monday announced a law enforcement plan to keep the peace, protect free speech, and prevent violence and intimidation on Election Day, and in the days that follow, in the City of Portland. With the support of local elected officials, the Governor is exercising her executive authority under ORS Chapter 401 to create a joint incident command structure, with the Superintendent of State Police and the Multnomah County Sheriff in charge of public safety in Portland from 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 2 until 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 4, unless extended or rescinded earlier. The Governor has also directed the Oregon National Guard to place its members trained in crowd control on standby in the event they are needed to support law enforcement efforts.
“Especially this year, there are unique dynamics at play that may create an environment ripe for a heated Election Day, and post-election period. This election also comes at a pivotal moment in Oregon, where the pandemic, wildfires and political atmosphere have boosted fear and anxiety,” said Governor Brown. “We’ve seen firsthand what happens when free expression is fueled by hate. We know that there are some people who might use peaceful election night protests to promote violence and property destruction.
“This behavior is not acceptable and it’s not in line with our Oregon values of being an inclusive democracy.
“Every Oregonian has the right to express themselves freely and to peacefully assemble. However, I want to be clear that voter intimidation and political violence will not be tolerated. Not from the Left, the Right, or the Center. Not this week, not any week in Oregon.
“It is my goal as Governor to ensure the safety of Oregonians, especially as they exercise their fundamental right to vote and practice free speech.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued the following statement:
Local law enforcement has been working for several weeks to ensure we have adequate resources available to keep our community safe. We’ve cancelled days off, put staff on call, and coordinated across all city bureaus to prepare for a wide range of possible scenarios.
Given the heightened concerns about potential violence, particularly from white supremist organizations and the divisive rhetoric from Washington, D.C., the need for coordination and partnership takes on statewide significance. Oregon is likely to be a flashpoint.
I appreciate that Governor Brown is using her executive authority to bring more resources to Portland. Our partnership prevented violence in the past and I hope it will do so again.
We should all be prepared for delayed results from the election. And, I urge everyone to focus on staying safe during this most important election.