Federal and Oregon state officials have developed a plan to cooperate on securing the Portland federal courthouse from rioters, however differences regarding the deployment of federal law enforcement remain.
Portland has seen nightly riots since the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed during his arrest by Minneapolis officers. Rioters have consistently targeted the federal courthouse in Portland, attacking federal law enforcement with various weapons including Molotov cocktails, and in some cases blinding officers with lasers.
Officers from the Border Patrol as well as Immigration, Customs and Enforcement have been deployed to augment personnel from the Federal Protective Services already stationed in the city.
Department of Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf has criticized Oregon elected officials for demanding that federal law enforcement leave Portland. President Trump has also weighed in, writing on Twitter on Wednesday that “there would be no Portland” if DHS personnel had not gone into the city.
According to the agreement reached between federal and state officials, Oregon state and Portland police will begin coordinating with federal law enforcement to protect the courthouse, Wolf told reporters at a press call on Wednesday.
“We have FPS officers, we have ICE officers and we have CBP officers. Those individuals are still there and will remain there…until we see that the plan is working, when we see that the courthouse is not continually attacked,” Wolf said.
However, Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, said in a statement earlier in the day that “these federal officers have acted as an occupying force, refused accountability, and brought violence and strife to our community. Beginning Thursday, all Customs and Border Protection and ICE officers will leave downtown Portland, and shortly thereafter will begin going home.”
Wolf did not answer directly when asked if the governor’s statement contradicted his remarks.
The commitment by state officials to work with DHS officers regardless marks a turnaround from previous reluctance to aid federal authorities. Portland mayor Ted Wheeler has accused the Trump administration of fueling tension in the city, although he himself has also been attacked by rioters.