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Federal agents to pull back in Portland, but will stay on standby

Portland federal courthouse
U.S. Attorney's Office
Aftermath of nights of violence at federal courthouse in downtown Portland

Now, Oregon State Police will be added to the mix

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Some federal officers guarding a U.S. courthouse that’s been targeted during violent protests in Portland will leave in the next 24 hours, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday. But the Trump administration’s insistence that some agents would remain in the building and the entire contingent would stay in the city in case they’re needed sparked confusion and concern among demonstrators.

While each side declared victory in the political fight over the federal deployment, it was not clear if the agreement would reduce tensions on the streets of the liberal city, where nightly protests have persisted for more than two months.

Many demonstrators are peaceful, but smaller numbers have thrown fireworks, flares and rocks at federal agents, used lasers to blind them and sprayed graffiti across the downtown Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse. Agents have responded with tear gas, pepper balls, stun grenades and nearly 100 arrests.

The deal also seemed likely to further muddle the situation by adding yet another law enforcement agency to the mix — Oregon State Police.

President Donald Trump earlier this month sent agents to the city from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Marshals Service as protests against racial injustice increasingly targeted federal property. The deployment appeared to have the opposite effect, reinvigorating demonstrations with a new focus: getting rid of the federal presence.

The Democratic governor said CBP and ICE agents will begin leaving the downtown area Thursday, but Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf wouldn’t specify where the agents would go. He insisted that a federal presence would remain until the Trump administration was assured the agreement was working and state police were sufficiently protecting federal property.

The plan calls for agents with the U.S. Marshals Service and Federal Protective Service to stay inside a fence set up around the courthouse, along with some state police, to keep out protesters. State police will be outside the fence.

“I want to be clear about this, the entire DHS law enforcement presence in Portland will remain in Portland, whether they’re staying inside the courthouse, next door or a different location, obviously I’m not going to get into that,” Wolf said on a call with reporters. “If ... we have indicators and warnings that (the state police) deployment is not working, that entire DHS law enforcement presence is available.”

He said federal agents have made 94 arrests.

Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton said his agency would deploy a special operations team and some uniformed troopers to the courthouse for a two-week rotation. The agency hopes its efforts will allow the protective fence to be removed and “restore a semblance of normalcy, while meeting community expectations and our obligations to protect the federal property,” Hampton said.

The agreement also calls for the U.S. government to clean the graffiti off the courthouse. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, has previously said the federal government refused to clean the building, contributing to the mistaken impression that the entire city was under siege.

The conflicts between protesters and the federal agents have been limited to roughly two square blocks around the courthouse and have not affected the rest of the city.

Trump declared victory, tweeting that federal agents prevented Portland from being “burned and beaten to the ground” and later repeating his refrain at a speech in Texas that protesters are agitators and anarchists.

Wheeler also claimed a win in a lengthy Twitter post.

“The federal occupation of our community has brought a new kind of fear to our streets. Federal agents nearly killed a demonstrator, and their presence has led to increased violence and vandalism in our downtown core,” he said.

A protester was critically injured July 11 and required facial reconstructive surgery after a federal agent fired a non-lethal round that struck him in the head.

Wednesday’s announcement was an abrupt about-face from just two days earlier, when the U.S. government said it might send more federal agents to Portland.

In fact, the Marshals Service were taking steps to identify up to 100 additional personnel who could go in case they were needed to relieve or supplement those working in Oregon, spokesman Drew Wade said.

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The Associated Press



    1. And when OSP can’t protect the Federal Court House . . . The Federal Officers will be back within minutes. What is Brown and Wheeler going to do, when they don’t see the Federal Officers leaving any time soon? They’re going to cry, whine, and complain that DHS didn’t hold up to the agreement and claim they didn’t understand that the first phase required the rioting/looting/arson/destruction to end . . . before the Officers would leave.

      1. Kate’s incompetence allows and condones the destruction of a previously beautiful, vibrant downtown full of tax paying businesses. She has destroyed downtown, our economy, the tax base of profitable business, and our school systems and she is patting herself on the back that the Feds left on her direction which is a total distortion of the truth. How long do we have to tolerate this incompetent idiot?

  1. Why do the American Taxpayers have to clean up the painting of the federal building? Bill the city for the cleanup and if they fail to pay, slap a lean on the city buildings and take them to Federal court to get the money back, plus fees and interest.

    1. Why do taxpayers have to pay for a Federal occupation that was not asked for? Why should we pay for anything while millionaires and billionaires pay NOTHING in taxes? Why should we pay for Trump to play golf at HIS property that HE still PROFITS from, violating a Constitutional law!
      You’re worried about graffiti, but this administration has been stealing from you for years.

        1. That’s not something to brag about is it? If 48% make so little that they’re exempt, and 1% make so much that they (like Trump) wiggle out of paying any taxes, is that a good thing?

      1. And a Black Mother cries tonight as her child lies dead on the ground as a result of a lack of leadership by Democratic officials. That’s what worries me! You racist piece of filth!


        I asked the Feds to come help, but thanks for spreading more lies! It’s going to hurt so bad in November for the likes of you and your ilk!

      2. if the Democrats start terrorizing bend the way they have Portland id be happy to have the federal agents take out the trash like they did in Portland. any logical person would. id just ask that the feds come sooner.of course logical thinking is not something that registers with the college programmed Democrats

    2. We could just send the bill to antifa, but none of them have a real job. Send it to Soros.

      Who really thinks these loons are going to back to mom’s basement or back the rocks/bridges they climbed out from a couple months ago. Heck, they will probably become more emboldened thinking they have won since Ms. Brown caved under their pressure. Too bad they can’t move the “peaceful protest” to her street and see what reaction she has then.

  2. The bad actors who left this mess behind should be the ones to pay for the cleanup. The peacefully assembled participants should police themselves, photograph and report the bad actors to the authorities. Instead of jail time, make them pay or, better yet, do the entire cleanup themselves. However, such a common sense solution will never be initiated, and the cleanup of the courthouse, a federal property belonging to ALL Americans, is unfortunately a taxpayer expense.

  3. Dumbed down Brown said they would be “leaving.” She lied or she is just being her usual ignorant stupid self. Both acting DHS director Chad Wolf and VP Mike Pence rejected Brown’s bogus claim. Brown is a nobody and the Feds couldn’t care less what she thinks or says.

  4. Whatever Portland was known for before all this forget it. Speaking as someone born in Oregon, for the foreseeable future anyone associated with our state will this stigma and have to live with this disgrace.

  5. BLM rolled up to Springfield last night and decided it would be a good idea to riot in a suburban neighborhood.

    Bad idea.

    Homeowners trapped the rioter’s vehicles and would not let them leave. You aren’t going to see a report on THAT here on KTVZ.

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