PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A limited number of Oregon State Police troopers and National Guard members have been activated to help Portland police as protests continue in the wake of days of unrest across the state, Gov. Kate Brown announced Monday afternoon.
Brown announced that 100 troopers from across the state are heading to Portland’s city center, and that 50 National Guard soldiers will also support Portland police behind the scenes only.
“They will not be on the front lines or doing crowd control,” she said, elaborating later that they will also not be armed.
The announcement came hours after Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and US Attorney Billy Williams said they had called for help from the National Guard. Wheeler announced the third night of curfew for the city, once again starting at 8 p.m., as he revealed he spoke with Brown several times throughout Sunday, asking for her to deploy National Guard members.
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, state Sen. Lew Frederick, state Rep. Janelle Bynum and Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton joined Brown at the Monday afternoon press conference, after Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and US Attorney Billy Williams called for help from the National Guard earlier in the day.
Hardesty, who had been acting mayor for Wheeler while he was away from the city dealing with a family emergency on Friday night, when protests descended into a riot with parts of the downtown on fire, described how she felt watching the chaos unfold.
She also laid the blame for much of the region and nation tensions at Trump’s feet, while refusing to use his name.
Trump’s actions have “allowed white supremacist worms to fall out of the woodwork,” Hardesty said.
She later said she was hesitant to bring in limited numbers of state police and National Guard, but also warned against having tired officers out with protesters.
Hampton said state police and National Guard members will be taking on a support role for Portland police, including transportation and food needs.
Mayor Wheeler said he believes the city does need more resources to address the protests.
“I want to assure folks that if the National Guard is deployed in Portland, they will be deployed for the purpose of securing and protecting our facilities and to free up law enforcement who is trained in crowd management to be deployed throughout the community,” said Wheeler. “We would not calling for the deployment of the National Guard throughout the community.”
Dozens of protesters were arrested in Portland over the weekend as a result of the demonstrations. Protests in Salem and Eugene also turned rough at times, also resulting in curfews being imposed on residents.
Brown’s press conference comes as President Donald Trump reportedly has put pressure on other governors to use National Guard members in protests; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has activated the National Guard for parts of the state.
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