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Report on the first year since Portland pulled out of the task force is unanimously accepted

PMG FILE PHOTO - The City Council will receive a report on 2019 FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force activities on Wednesday, Jan. 29.The City Council has expressed its support for the new relationship between the Portland Police Bureau and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Last year the council voted to withdraw the bureau from the task force, which includes all other law enforcement agencies in the region. The council praised the transition when it unanimously accepted the first annual report on bureau and task force interactions on Wednesday, Jan. 29.

"I want to give a shout out to our federal partners. They could have given us the cold shoulder, but they kept the lines of communications open," said Mayor Ted Wheeler, who had voted against the withdrawn.

The three council members who voted for the withdrawal also praised the separation between the bureau and the task force documented in the report. It said the task force had referred 10 cases to the bureau and the bureau had referred 12 cases to the task force, but they never worked togather on any of them.

"I wanted the engagement to be very limited," said Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who pushed for the withdrawal with the support of commissioners Chloe Eudaly and Amanda Fritz.

Commissioner Nick Fish, who opposed withdrawal, passed away on Jan. 2 and has not yet been replaced.

Critics of the task force, included the ACLU, protested the ongoing relationship between the bureau and the FBI outside City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 28. The council said they were satisfied by the transparency of the relationship, however.

Only one of the 10 cases received from the task force is still under investigation by the bureau. The others were resolved after police contacted the suspects and determined the threats were not serious, the report said.

Even though all but the current investigation ended with no arrests, the report stresses that terrorist attacks are still a potential threat.

"Sadly, 2019 saw a number of attacks throughout the world that led to significant losses of life. In some of these incidents, the suspects exhibited a clear ideology and motivation for the killings, in others the motivating factors were less clear. Certainly, racially motivated violent extremism, specifically white supremacy and anti-Semitism, were factors in several attacks, including two of the most significant attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso, Texas," according to the report, citing two of the most prominent attacks around the world.

The council voted to withdraw from the task force on May 8, 2019. The resolution still requires an annual report by the end of January that contains the following information:

• The frequency with which the FBI's Special Agent in Charge requested the assignment of Portland officers for an investigation.

• The number of cases that were referred to the PPB by the FBI.

• The number of cases that were referred to the FBI by the PPB.

• The nature of closed cases referred to the PPB by the FBI, including the demographics of

persons investigated, and the disposition of those cases.

No details were released about the ongoing bureau investigation.


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