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Gov. Brown unveils unified law enforcement plan for Portland violence

After three months of Portland attempting to go it alone on the handling of nightly violence, Gov. Kate Brown released a master plan Sunday that involves city, county, state and federal resources.

The goal is to stem violence while protecting free speech.

“We all must come together — elected officials, community leaders, all of us — to stop the cycle of violence,” Brown said. “But this is only the first step. Real change will come from the hard work to achieve racial justice. And it starts with all of us listening to each other and working together.”

The governor’s unified law enforcement plan comes one day after a clash between right-wing and left-wing protesters ended with one man dead. Initial reports indicated the man may have been connected to Patriot Prayer, a right-wing group that has staged violent protests in Portland for years.

State Police troopers will continue their standard practice of wearing body cameras to allow for the documentation of their activities, Brown said Sunday. Portland police do not employ body cameras.

  • Brown is asking the Clackamas and Washington County sheriff’s offices and the city of Gresham Police Department to support Portland police with personnel and resources to keep the peace and to protect free speech.
  • Oregon State Police have offered more than two dozen body cameras and associated evidence management to the Portland Police Bureau, and the bureau will evaluate their use, Brown said. The city of Portland has agreed to indemnify Clackamas and Washington counties and the city of Gresham for law enforcement assistance. In addition, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler will seek financial resources to reimburse these jurisdictions for their support.
  • U.S. Attorney Billy Williams and the Federal Bureau of Investigation will commit additional resources for investigation of criminal activity. The size and nature of those resources were not announced Sunday.

Brown said she also will convene a community forum, including Wheeler, and invite Black protest organizers and community leaders to discuss racial justice and police reform in Portland. The group will create a venue for all community voices to come together, listen to each other, and co-create a just and peaceful future, Brown wrote.

The city was rocked Sunday when a caravan of supporters of President Donald Trump — many of them armed — clashed with protesters on the city’s highways and streets, and later downtown. One man was shot that evening downtown. Media outlets reported the man was wearing a Patriot Prayer hat, was visibly armed with paint ball guns and a knife, and wore other tactical gear. Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer, identified the victim as Aaron “Jay” Danielson.

President Trump repeatedly called out Portland’s nights of violence at the Republican National Convention and has subsequently tweeted about the violence here. On Sunday, he threatened to return federal troops to Portland.

Federal law enforcement stationed in Portland in July significantly increased the levels of violence on the street. Gov. Brown subsequently brokered a deal to get the federal authorities out of town.

“The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight,” Brown wrote Sunday. “Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence. I will not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.

“Time and again, from Charlottesville to Kenosha to Portland, we have seen the tragic outcome when armed, right-wing vigilantes take matters into their own hands. Gun violence is never, ever the answer.”

Supporters of President Donald Trump attend a rally and car parade Saturday, Aug. 29, in Clackamas, Ore., on the way to Portland. AP Photo/Paula Bronstein