Oregon Governor: National Guard Isn’t Needed to Quell Unrest in Portland

September 5, 2020 Updated: September 5, 2020

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Friday that she hasn’t sent National Guard troops to Portland to quell the continued unrest there because she believes they’re not trained for the job or needed.

Portland Mayor and Police Commissioner said last week that he’s asked Brown for National Guard assistance multiple times, but she declined to send the help.

“There were multiple reasons at the time why I rejected that request,” Brown told reporters at a press briefing.

“A, we don’t need the national guard at this time and, B, that they are not trained for this work,” she added later. “What we need on the ground is trained law enforcement. And that’s why I created the uniform law enforcement plan to bring both local and state officials together behind a plan to keep people safe and to protect free speech rights.”

Brown unveiled the plan late last month following the killing of a man in downtown Portland during a night that saw skirmishes between supporters of President Donald Trump and counter-demonstrators.

portland victim
A man is treated after being shot in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, 2020. The victim, identified as Aaron Danielson, died. (Paula Bronstein/AP Photo)

Brown sent Oregon troopers back to Portland, several weeks after the troopers withdrew out of frustration of a new prosecutorial policy that sees prosecutors decline to pursue charges against people arrested during protests and riots.

She also asked several law enforcement agencies to send personnel. Those heads of those agencies said they would not.

Brown’s repeated refusal to send National Guard forces stands in contrast with other governors. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a fellow Democrat, quickly sent forces into Kenosha to quell unrest there last month.

Trump and acting Homeland Security Chief Chad Wolf regularly reiterate offers of federal help for law enforcement in Portland but have been turned down each time by Brown, who called one of Trump’s latest offers “political theater.”

Federal and Oregon officials have blamed each other for the riots, which have shaken the city since May 28 with no end in sight.

penumbra in portland
In this still image from video, demonstrators stand near the Penumbra Kelly Building in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 3, 2020. (Roman Balmakov/The Epoch Times)

Wheeler told Trump in a recent letter that sending federal agents to help protect the U.S. Courthouse “made the situation far worse.”

Wolf told Wheeler in response that “your inaction has fostered an environment that has fueled senseless violence and destruction night after night.”

Trump said Wednesday that the federal government is reviewing funding to state and local governments that “are permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities,” including Portland.

FBI agents in Portland recently shifted more focus onto those committing crimes during the nightly events. FBI investigations led to five civil disorder charges this week.

During the briefing, Brown was asked about Michael Forest Reinoehl, the Antifa member who allegedly shot dead Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a supporter of Patriot Prayer, in downtown Portland on Aug. 29.

Reinoehl was killed by law enforcement officers during an attempt to apprehend him late Thursday.

“I don’t have any more specific information about Mr. Reinoehl,” she said.

Epoch Times Photo
Chandler Pappas and Aaron Danielson, top left, walk down Southwest Alder Street as Michael Reinoehl, right, conceals himself from them, in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 29, 2020. (Portland Police Bureau)

“In terms of the violence in the streets of Portland, I continue to remain concerned. That’s why at the request of community leaders, we have issued a collective call to end the violence, to end the property destruction, the arson, and the person to person violence in the streets,” she added.

“This violence is a distraction from the critically important work that we need to do to eradicate racism and build a better Oregon for everyone.”

Pressed on why she denounced white supremacists but not Antifa following the shooting of Danielson, Brown declined to answer directly.

Twenty-seven people were arrested during a riot later Friday in Portland.

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber