PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – Gov. Kate Brown announced Wednesday morning that federal officers who have been in Portland for several weeks will exit the city in a phased withdrawal.
The governor’s office released the following statements from Brown:
“After my repeated requests, the federal government has agreed to a phased withdrawal of federal officers that have been deployed to the Mark Hatfield United States Courthouse over recent weeks."
“These federal officers have acted as an occupying force, refused accountability, and brought violence and strife to our community. Beginning Thursday, all Customs and Border Protection and ICE officers will leave downtown Portland, and shortly thereafter will begin going home."
“After discussions with the Vice President and administration officials this week, the federal government has agreed to my demand and will withdraw these officers from Portland. They will also clean up the Courthouse, removing the graffiti.”
Brown stated that the Oregon State Police will “provide protection for free speech and the security of the exterior of the courthouse with the Federal Protective Service,” saying that a limited of number of officers will remain stationed at the courthouse to “act as building security year-round” and “will stay focused on the interior of the U.S. Courthouse.”
Federal officers have been stationed at the federal courthouse for most of July. Since then, there has been ongoing tension between them and Black Lives Matter protesters.
Oregon State Police announced that Thursday, OSP special operation teams and some uniformed troopers will start a 2-week rotation within the city to assist federal officers and the Portland Police Bureau.
"OSP hopes to develop an atmosphere that affords the removal of the protective fence and restore a semblance of normalcy, while meeting community expectations and our obligations to protect the federal property," the statement by OSP Superintendent Travis Hampton said.
PPB Chief Chuck Lovell tweeted that the bureau was happy to partner with OSP in the upcoming response.
PPB has a long history of partnership with @ORStatePolice and trains with their crowd management team. We welcome the commitment of State Police personnel to help with the on-going events downtown.— Chief Chuck Lovell (@ChiefCLovell) July 29, 2020
Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf released a statement on the exit plan on Twitter, saying he and Brown agreed to the "joint plan to end the violent activity in Portland directed at federal properties and law enforcement."
However, later in the morning, Wolf tweeted out the following statement regarding the withdrawal of officers, appearing to express disagreement on a solid timeline:
As I told the Governor yesterday, federal law enforcement will remain in Portland until the violent activity toward our federal facilities ends. We are not removing any law enforcement while our facilities and law enforcement remain under attack.— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) July 29, 2020
Wolf went on to tweet several remarks that refuted Brown's plan for federal officers to leave.
"We will maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked and that the seat of justice in Portland will remain secure," Wolf wrote.
As of 10:15 a.m. Wednesday, Vice Pres. Mike Pence, whom Brown referred to working with in her statement, had not commented.
Pres. Donald Trump tweeted his support for the presence of federal officers in Portland, claiming that if they "didn’t go into Portland one week ago, there would be no Portland -- It would be burned and beaten to the ground."
Brown acknowledged in her withdrawal plan announcement that she has “grown increasingly concerned at the nightly confrontation between local community members and federal officers. We need to recognize that the protests in Portland are not solely about the federal presence. They started before federal agents descended on our city and they will likely continue after they leave.”
She also stated that the Black Lives Matter movement across the country has “led a historic uprising, centering black voices demanding justice and greater police accountability” and work is being done by the state government to address police accountability and racial justice.
“If slavery is America’s original sin, then anti-Blackness is Oregon’s. Even before it was recognized as a state, Oregon prevented African Americans from settling here and owning property. For far too long, Oregon’s constitution ingrained discrimination into state law,” Brown stated.
“Black, white, brown, and indigenous Oregonians are ready to address systemic racism. Let’s get to work.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he appreciated Brown's leadership in working on the planned exit of the federal officers, saying "The Governor and I agree: Oregon resources, expertise, and values are sufficient to manage Oregon issues."
Wheeler's full statement from Twitter can be read here.
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