Wolf Calls on Oregon Governor to Send National Guard to Portland

August 24, 2020 Updated: August 25, 2020

The head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has urged Oregon’s governor to take action to quell the unrest that has continued nearly every night in Portland since May 28.

Drawing attention to the 37 people arrested during rioting in the last 48 hours, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Gov. Kate Brown should send assistance to police officers in the state’s largest city.

“Now is the time for the Governor to deploy her National Guard, send in Oregon State Police or request assistance from the federal government,” Wolf said in a statement.

“Portland law enforcement is doing what they can but need help to proactively address violence.”

Brown, a Democrat, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, on Monday ordered National Guard troops to Kenosha just hours after a single day of rioting.

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Oregon Army National Guard Soldiers help set up a medical station amid the COVID-19 pandemic, at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on March 19, 2020. (Sgt. 1st Class Zachary Holden/U.S. Army National Guard via Getty Images)
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Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks at the state capital building in Salem, Ore., on Feb., 20, 2015. (Steve Dipaola/Reuters)

The offices of Brown and Ted Wheeler, Portland’s mayor and police commissioner, have stonewalled 10 inquiries in the past 10 days.

Brown in late August sent state troopers to assist the Portland Police Bureau and federal officers in battling the mayhem that kept unfolding downtown.

Troopers left after a two-week stint. Capt. Timothy Fox, a state police spokesman, told The Epoch Times that state police had fulfilled their committed period of time but also alluded to a recent decision from the district attorney overseeing Portland deciding not to pursue some criminal charges.

“The Oregon State Police is continually reassessing our resources and the needs of our partner agencies and, at this time, we are inclined to move those resources back to counties where prosecution of criminal conduct is still a priority,” Fox said in an email on Aug. 13.

Brown said in a separate statement at the time that the transition was planned for two weeks.

“Last night was the final night for @ORStatePolice to take responsibility for keeping the peace and protecting free speech around the federal courthouse building downtown,” she said.

“This transition was made in coordination with local and federal officials. If further state support is needed in Portland, OSP troopers will be available to return to the city,” she added.

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Portland police officers disperse rioters past a dumpster fire near the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Portland, Ore., early Aug. 21, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
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Portland police and Oregon State Patrol troopers work together to arrest two people in front of the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct during continued rioting in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 11, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Riots focused on the federal Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse starting in early July, triggering a surge in DHS officers and agents to the city to help protect the building. Police officers helped on-and-off, not responding at all on some nights.

Wolf and Brown reached a deal on July 29 that saw Brown send the troopers in exchange for the planned withdrawal of some federal forces.

But Trump administration officials said the officers would remain in the city until officials were assured the courthouse and other federal properties were safe.

Rioters have since stayed away from the courthouse. Twice last week, they damaged the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in south Portland. ICE is part of DHS.

Mobs have also set two police precincts, a county building, and police union offices on fire since the beginning of August.

More than 599 arrests have been made during the unrest by local and federal officers. At least 130 were charged with felonies, including 80 charged at the federal level.

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell, promoted in June, said recently that the solution to the unrest is community members and elected officials coming together “to denounce this criminal activity.”

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