SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Only a handful of protesters showed up outside of the Oregon State Capitol on Inauguration Day, quelling fears of violence as Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.
In the District of Columbia and states around the country, law enforcement officials were gearing up for protests who may seek to disrupt the day.
A coordinated response between the FBI, OSP, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, PPB, local Federal Protective Services and the Multnomah County DA is largely focused on the State Capitol in Salem and in Portland, the scene of so many protests during the Trump administration.
Now law enforcement is looking ahead to Thursday as the legislative session gets ready to start and Governor Kate Brown delivers her State of the State address.
OSP troopers and the National Guard will still be available at the Capitol. Salem PD said they will play a support role for OSP.
Only a handful of protesters showed up on Wednesday. One person — a supporter of Joe Biden — said he was not suprised by the lack of far-right protesters after what happened at the US Capitol on January 6.
“These were people getting away with reprehensible behavior,” said Sasha Miller. “The ability to behave that like was fueling their willingness to behave like that. The 6th showed that those people are going to go to jail for committing those crimes. So now those same people aren’t going to show up to commit violent acts in those same numbers.”
“Because of the threats made against the Capitol, we’ll be in Salem with the help of the Oregon National Guard, Salem Police Department and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office,” OSP Superintendent Terri Davie said at a Tuesday press conference.
Davie said people have the right to peacefully assemble, but “harassment, roadway blockage, vandalism blockage is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Salem Police Chief Trevor Womack said the recent protests have impacted the community.
“We need to prevent or intervene in acts of violence, stop property damage and vandalism and, given what we’ve seen at the Nation’s Capitol, deny the unlawful occupation of buildings,” Womack said. They plan to keep opposing groups separated as much as possible.
Oregon lawmakers decided to delay next week’s start of the official legislative session to ensure no one is inside the Capitol building out of an abundance of caution.
“I’ve never been around the state police when they’ve been the way they are now, they are very much in a bunker mentality, we will prepare for all eventualities. It’s gotten very serious,” said Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney.