Portland, Oregon is starting to get out of hand. Especially now that someone has died. Regardless of your political ideology, we should be able to agree that things are getting ridiculous at that point.
While Mayor Ted Wheeler was busy blaming Trump for one of the president’s supporters being killed by someone the Portland government had apparently released back into the wild despite a previous arrest, others throughout the nation were getting kind of sick of it. Oregon Governor Kate Brown was apparently among them.
She decided to step in where Wheeler apparently couldn’t do squat.
Oregon state police will patrol Portland’s nightly protests with help from officers from neighboring communities, seeking to tamp down on vandalism and violence following the fatal shooting of a right-wing Trump supporter as the city approaches 100 consecutive nights of Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
The plan, announced late Sunday by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, also creates a group including Mayor Ted Wheeler and local Black leaders to help chart the path forward for Portland, a liberal city struggling to regain its footing under a national spotlight.
President Donald Trump has made Portland and its Democratic leadership a frequent target and the centerpiece of his “law and order” re-election campaign theme. He demanded that local and state leaders call in the National Guard after Saturday’s fatal shooting.
However, Brown, a Democrat, still managed to screw the pooch.
How? Well, she forgot to bother asking some of those neighboring communities if they were interested in helping. While the governor has the authority to direct the state police, she can’t actually make local departments step in and take care of Portland’s mess, so they have to agree to help.
It seems that, well, they’re not interested.
The plan called on several local law enforcement agencies to help, including the sheriff’s offices of Washington and Clackamas counties.
Clackamas Co. Sheriff Craig Roberts said the governor didn’t approach his office before rolling out the plan, intended to address the violence and arson while also protecting free speech.
“Increasing law enforcement resources in Portland will not solve the nightly violence and now, murder,” the sheriff said. “The only way to make Portland safe again, is to support a policy that holds offenders accountable for their destruction and violence.”
And the Portland DA has made it clear he’s not interested in doing any of that.
At least one local department was in discussions about whether they’d send officers to help, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to or not.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think Brown’s plan was completely half-baked. Pulling in help from neighboring communities is probably a good thing considering the scope of what’s been going on in Portland. However, she apparently forgot that the emergency powers that pretty much every governor assumed in during the pandemic still only went so far.
She cannot compel a department to abandon their responsibilities to their communities in order to help Portland take care of its mess. At a minimum, she should have contacted these departments beforehand and made sure they were on board. If not, she could have reached out to other departments that might have been a bit further away, but might have been willing to send officers.
The fact that she didn’t doesn’t instill confidence that she’ll do any better than Wheeler has.