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Gov. Says Feds Will Leave Portland Tomorrow, But DHS Says Differently

Portland, OR –Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced on Wednesday that federal officers will begin withdrawing from Portland, just as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a statement saying federal law enforcement officers won’t be going anywhere just yet.

“After my discussions with (Vice President Mike] Pence and others, the federal government has agreed to withdraw federal officers from Portland,” Brown touted in a Twitter post on July 29.

The governor declared that federal officers “have acted as an occupying force & brought violence” to the city, despite the fact that rioters had been torching and looting the downtown area for weeks prior to additional federal officers being deployed to help protect federal properties.

Tuesday marked the 62nd consecutive night of mayhem in the city, FOX News reported.

“Starting tomorrow, all Customs and Border Protection & ICE officers will leave downtown Portland,” Brown wrote. “Our local Oregon State Police officers will be downtown to protect Oregonians’ right to free speech and keep the peace. Let’s center the Black Lives Matter movement’s demands for racial justice and police accountability. It’s time for bold action to reform police practices.”

At nearly the same moment, DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf released a statement confirming that he and Brown had “agreed to a joint plan,” but Wolf’s plan was focused on bringing an end to “the violent activity…directed at federal properties and law enforcement officers.”

Wolf confirmed that the Oregon State Police (OSP) will have “a robust presence” in the city as they work with local law enforcement to take back the downtown area.

“The Department will continue to maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked,” Wolf wrote. “The Department will continue to re-evaluate our security posture…and should circumstances on the ground significantly improve due to the influx of state and local law enforcement, we anticipate the ability to change our force posture.”

The DHS secretary noted that President Donald Trump’s administration has maintained the stance that violence towards federal property and law enforcement officers “will not be tolerated,” and that local and state leaders must step up and “police their communities.”

“The [DHS] will not back down from our legal duty to protect federal law enforcement officers and federal properties in the face of such criminal behavior,” Wolf added.

Approximately one hour after Brown declared victory and announced that “all Customs and Border Protection & ICE officers” would be leaving the city on Thursday, Wolf put out another tweet that seemed to contradict the governor’s claim.

“As I told the Governor yesterday, federal law enforcement will remain in Portland until the violent activity toward our federal facilities ends,” Wolf wrote. “We are not removing any law enforcement while our facilities and law enforcement remain under attack.”

Federal officers have spent many nights fending off rioters intent on storming and torching the federal courthouse, FOX News reported.

The mob has hurled bricks, bottles, rocks, mortars, knives, and Molotov cocktails at federal officers, who have responded by firing less-lethal munitions and tear gas.

Crowds have also blocked traffic, ignited fires, and attempted to set up an “autonomous zone” in Lownsdale Square Park.

President Trump confirmed on Wednesday that federal officers will remain in Portland until local leaders have “secured their city,” KABC reported.

“Either they’re gonna clean up Portland soon, or the federal government is going up, and we’re gonna do it for them,” President Trump said, before referring to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Brown as “weak.”

Brown has not responded to requests for comment regarding the inconsistencies between her announcement and Wolf’s, according to multiple news outlets.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin

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