State police and county deputies are gearing up for dueling protest rallies in Portland this weekend.
The city has been shaken by unrest, riots and protests for several weeks.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has 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, Brown said she is exercising her executive authority under ORS Chapter 401 to create a joint incident command structure, with the Oregon State Police (OSP) Superintendent 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,” Brown said. “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."
During a Friday morning, Sept. 25 media briefing, Brown said that the OSP Superintendent and the Multnomah County Sheriff will work closely with the Portland Police Chief to keep people safe over 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," Brown said. "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.”