FBI running protest command center in Portland
The FBI's Portland Field Office said they are "preparing for any potential violent activity related to the recent unrest in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere."
In a statement released on Thursday by Special Agent in Charge Renn Cannon, the FBI said they are "maintaining a heightened posture to monitor for any emerging threats to our region."
The FBI in Oregon is now running a command post to gather intelligence and coordinate with law enforcement partners on potential threats.
"We also have special agents, bomb technicians, the FBI Evidence Response Team, tactical teams, intelligence teams, and others to support investigations and counter any potential threat of violence to the state capitol, federal buildings, and our shared community," the statement read.
The statement comes a day after Governor Brown said she activated the Oregon National Guard ahead of possible civil unrest.
Armed right-wing protesters breached the Oregon State Capitol while lawmakers were attending a special legislative session on Dec. 21. State Rep. Mike Nearman is accused of opening a door to let demonstrators inside. Officers quickly responded to the open doors and tried for several minutes to push the protesters out.
Eventually, police were pepper-sprayed and retreated into the building, and protesters flooded into the building through the doors Nearman had allegedly opened.
Four protesters were arrested that day.
Oregon lawmakers decided to delay next week's start of the official legislative session to ensure no one is inside the Capitol building out of an abundance of caution.
"I've never been around the state police when they've been the way they are now, they are very much in a bunker mentality, we will prepare for all eventualities. It's gotten very serious," said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney.
Authorities in Portland are also preparing for what the next week may bring. Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell released this statement on Thursday:
"I am aware there is heightened concern in the community related to local reaction to the coming Presidential inauguration. This community is tired of the wanton destruction of public and private property and the violence and intimidation we've seen acted out in the name of protest or hate. This is criminal behavior and we are committed to holding those who perpetrate these acts accountable.
"At this time, there are no known specific threats to Portland and we will continue to monitor the situation and adapt to prioritize public safety. Portland Police officers remain vigilant for criminal gatherings and will respond with available resources to restore order if they occur.
"We have been planning for Inauguration Day, and the days leading up to it, with local and federal partners to ensure coordinated efforts to maintain peace. The Portland Police Bureau will do everything it can to respond as quickly as possible to reports of people committing criminal acts of intimidation, property destruction, and violence. We will make arrests and present the best possible cases to the District Attorney for prosecution consideration.
"We can come together to overcome struggles. We can work together to create peace and justice. We can love and support each other as brothers and sisters in spite of differences. I hope that you will join with me, even before the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, in making the coming days, ones of peace."
The FBI is hoping to gather tips. Call 503-224-4181 or go to tips.fbi.gov to submit information regarding any potential violence at any upcoming protest or event. You can also call 1-800-CALL-FBI. If you know of an immediate emergency, call 911.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their story can be found here.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.