Calm returns to Portland as federal agents withdraw
Local and state agencies take over security, but some U.S. officers remain close by.
July 31, 2020 at 8:24 PM EDTPORTLAND, Ore. — This city's battle-scarred downtown was calm much of Friday after federal agents withdrew from the streets where they had faced off with protesters for days, though dozens remained stationed downtown to respond to any further violence.
arrow-rightThe agents, who had been posted at a federal courthouse that protesters had targeted with graffiti and fire, moved to other downtown locations, held in reserve under a deal between Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and the Trump administration. Amid criticism of the federal officers’ tactics, local and state police who took their place at the courthouse were far less aggressive — largely staying out of sight Thursday night, making no arrests and firing no tear gas.
In moments reminiscent of the once-nightly clashes, a few protesters threw rocks or fireworks at the empty space where federal agents had stood. But the crowds were largely peaceful Thursday night into Friday, listening to speeches about police brutality and racism and chatting on the grass.
ADAD“Federal troops left downtown. Local officials protected free speech,” Brown wrote on Twitter. “And Oregonians spoke out for Black Lives Matter, racial justice, and police accountability through peaceful, non-violent protest.”The Department of Homeland Security is keeping more than 130 federal agents stationed near the courthouse as a “quick reaction force,” in case protests turn violent again, according to an internal DHS document reviewed by The Washington Post.
A senior Homeland Security official said the department was pleased with the first night after agents’ withdrawal but would wait until the weekend, at least, before leaving Portland altogether.ADAmong protesters, many feared that the peace was only temporary, noting that their concerns about racism and police brutality in the city predated the arrival of the federal agents.
ADBut some felt a sense of accomplishment and said they hope the calm will last.“Trump’s keystone cops absolutely lost. They retreated,” said Peter Buck, a 74-year-old lawyer who had been traveling to Portland from Olympia for vigils and marches,using a leaf blower
to send tear gas away from protesters.The protests at Portland’s courthouse began weeks ago, during the national movement that followed the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. The Portland protests gained national attention because of the aggressive tactics used by camouflage-clad federal agents, who were seen on video grabbing protesters off the street and driving them away
.ADThe Trump administration said these tactics were necessary to stop people who had vandalized the federal courthouse.But the protests became bigger and more violent with federal agents’ presence. For days, the fence around the courthouse was the scene of nightly street battles, as some protesters threw rocks, fireworks and cans, and officers responded with rubber bullets, tear gas and charges into the crowd.
ADUnder the terms of the deal struck by Brown and the Trump administration, Portland police and Oregon state troopers took over most security duties near the courthouse. But the “quick reaction force” is intended to rush in if the state police need help, according to the Department of Homeland Security document.
ADThe document says there are still more than 150 Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel — including the 130 members of the quick-reaction force — in the Portland area. Among them are more than 110 Border Patrol agents, more than 30 members of Special Response Teams and more than a half-dozen air support specialists. The figures do not include additional personnel from the U.S. Marshals Service, part of the Justice Department, and the Federal Protective Service, another arm of DHS.
The CBP’s quick-reaction force is divided between two locations, both within 20 minutes of the courthouse. Nearly 100 CBP agents are stationed at one of the holding sites, while 35 more are at another site, according to the document.ADThe quick-reaction force’s instructions are to respond only to “major” felonies, including attempts to breach courthouse security or block the exits. Oregon State Police have assigned 80 officers to the courthouse protests, and state authorities will have primary responsibility for dealing with any incidents, according to the document.
ADOn Thursday night, the state police officers remained confined to the courthouse, occasionally looking out at the protests.Some demonstrators said that without a notable police presence, the crowd had a different atmosphere. “It’s much more low-key and a bit more subdued,” said Shannon Echavarria, a 53-year-old pet-care professional, on Thursday evening. “Normally by this time, people would be banging on that fence. There’d be fireworks. They’d be pouring debris over.”
ADThe shift in tone was “100 percent because the feds are leaving,” Echavarria said.But the change seemed to take some protesters by surprise. Many had arrived wearing helmets and gas masks, but found themselves sitting on the grass in the park near the courthouse.
AD“Looks like there won’t be much of a battle tonight,” one man said at midnight to a group of shield-wielding protesters. Minutes later, a small fire was started inside the cordoned-off area outside the courthouse, though protesters quickly put it out before it could spread.
Outside the federal courthouse Friday afternoon, a handful of state police officers, wearing their trademark campaign-style hats, stood behind a metal fence, observing the scene. A marked car for the Federal Protective Service sat behind the building.
In the adjacent Lownsdale Square, which had been cleared by city police early Thursday morning, several tents had already been installed again. The park’s central statue, a monument to Oregonians who died during the 1898 Spanish-American War, scrubbed clean by city workers Thursday, was again graffitied.
ADADSome protesters suggested that a safer environment could draw larger crowds, including families and teenagers, downtown.Adia Jones, a 17-year-old student who has been helping organize a popular youth-led event in Northeast Portland called Fridays4Freedom, said Friday that many of her peers had not been able to regularly attend protests downtown because of safety fears.
“A big concern on our part is safety,” Jones said, adding that she had been tear-gassed three times when she went to the courthouse Wednesday evening.But Jones and her fellow organizer, 16-year-old Aslan Newson, emphasized that they did not oppose anyone protesting however they wanted.
AD“We are for full abolition of police. Until we see that, we are not going to stop,” said Jones. “Once those demands are met, we will evaluate.”ADSome demonstrators remain wary of the state and local police as well, recalling that city police had used tear gas to dispel protesters long before federal officers arrived. Others noted that Trump on Thursday warned that he could call in the National Guard.
But most protesters welcomed the calm and believed that Portland’s protests would keep their momentum.“That will draw families back to the protests. Ultimately, while we wanted the feds out, this was really about Black Lives Matter,” Echavarria said.As the crowd lingered toward the end of the night, a freestyling rapper named No Shoes said that the time was right to just focus on having fun.Read more: The Washington Post »
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Anyone have the real news about this? Just another lame attempt by the media to make it look bad for Trump. They was burning and destroying before the feds showed up. Real news anybody? I think you mean: “Federal agents bring peace and can now leave the area” As Trump forced local cops to show up. GOPLeader SenateGOP Well looky there. All is peaceful in Portland. Federal Police DOMINANCE distraction pathetic move was an..EPIC FAIL. You better get used to failing..this month is gonna shake all the rotten apples from the tree. Happy Days!
and there ya go..peaceful protests. Well that was an EPIC fail for Trump. BY THE WAY THERE WAS NOTHING PEACEFUL ABOUT THESE RIOTS. KILLING PEOPLE ATTACKING PEOPLE BURNING EVERYTHING DOWN. ROBBING PEOPLE. BURNING BIBLES. THESE ARE NOT PEACEFUL PEOPLE. THEY ARE CRIMINALS TERRORIST SUPPORT BY THE MAYOR AND DEMOCRATS. NOT PEACEFUL
IT WONT LAST LONG. EVERY TIME THEY SAY CALM. PEACEFUL OR MYTH. THE ANTIFA TERRORIST JUST START DOING MORE EVIL. YOU WILL SEE. THEY WILL NEVER STOP. UNLESS YOU GIVE THEM EVERYTHING THEY WANT. OR WITH USING FORCE TO STOP THEM. Send in the feds... just as a show of force.... Dems can’t handle it! Duh. Early that should read, Federal agents leave Portland since the area is calming down. Toy have such a liberal slant to everything.
Bible burning is peace protesting? I am deeply offended. SPEAK UP! Christian lives matter. Yeah... right! Imagine that. So, is the Post saying, if the mayor and governor had done their jobs from the very beginning and used their police forces to protect people and property, none of the criminal rioting would have happened? Looks that way
so were the trump gustapo needed, i dont think so I read the Headlne as “Calm In Poland” and I thought, “Good for Poland!!” Then it dawned on me....PORTLAND The UNITED STATES of AMERICA. PORTLAND. It’s almost as if they were part of the problem and not the solution. Who knew? 🤷🏼♀️ I still think the fact that they didn’t show badges means they were contract security not Federal employees with benefits.
Portland has been a disaster for months and had nothing to do with the Feds The Jordanian government takes aid from Canada and UNICEF to put teachers in prisons instead of supporting education ✍freedom_For_Jordanian_teachers Funny that... America HATES fascism.
Portland prepares for federal agents to step back from protestsOregon officials are preparing to take over protecting a federal courthouse in Portland that’s been a target of violent protests. Will the liberal girl Gov. protect the Federal courthouse? Or will she side with the angry mob?
Federal Agents Drive 3 Hours Away From Portland Before Realizing Abducted Protester Still In BackseatECHO, OR—Cursing their inattention and debating whether they should turn around, several U.S. federal agents reportedly had driven three hours away from Portland Friday before realizing an abducted protester was still in the backseat. “Goddamnit, how did we miss him?” said federal agent Steve LaJoie to his partner after hearing muffled cries from a handcuffed man and registering that he must have been unconscious in the backseat of their unmarked vehicle for nearly 200 miles since the operatives had pulled out of Portland. “Shit, we hightailed it out of there so quickly we didn’t even check the backseat. Hey, Dave, did you pick up this guy? I don’t remember grabbing him and shoving him back there. Fuck, our ass is grass if we show up at headquarters with an abducted protester. Someone look online to see if anyone’s posting about him going missing. There’s only one, right? Check under the seats.” At press time, the federal agents had decided to pull over at the next ditch and shoot him. smh that cant even fake being agents that good anymore Dontcha just hate when that happens? Years down the line, this wouldn't surprise me after an historical investigation.
Oregon Governor Says Trump's Plan To 'Dominate' The Streets 'Failed'President Trump and Gov. Kate Brown clashed again after she announced a 'phased withdrawal' of federal agents from Portland. We stand with you OregonGovBrown always! notmypresident fascistregime Paintball meets Vietnam meets Antietam meets Wrestlemania very good. it's now phase 0. The President will let you know when phase 1 starts.
Portland protest strives for peace as U.S. forces drawn downMore than a thousand people showed up to peacefully protest for a second night in downtown Portland, Oregon. The protest late Friday into Saturday morning comes about three days after the announcement that the presence of U.S. agents would be reduced. Spinning a left wing narrative. Our media is broken. How many showed up to not be peaceful?
Judge proposes numbered jerseys for federal agents in PortlandA judge in Portland, Ore., is proposing that the uniforms of federal agents responding to longrunning protests and unrest in that city be emblazoned with easily visible numbers so officers can be easily identified if they commit abuses No Not 'if', but 'when' they commit abuses. Do they have their body cameras on
U.S. federal troops staying in Portland for now, Wolf saysActing U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News on Friday that federal troops would remain in Portland until he was assured that the Oregon governor's plan to handle daily protests was working, and said sending in the National Guard was still an option if the state did not handle the situation. Cleaning up a Dems mess. As long as there are violent terrorists Gestapo