PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Although there is “no known active threat of violence” in the region for Inauguration Day, law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon are on alert for potential protests and unrest.
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.
At a media briefing Tuesday afternoon, officials with each agency laid out what they know, what they will do and what will happen if things escalate.
The Oregon State Police
“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,” said OSP Superintendent Terri Davie.
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.
Kieran Ramsey, the new Special Agent in Charge at the FBI Portland office, said the agency is “operating at a heightened state of alert.”
They’re looking to identify anyone that might try to incite violence or plan crimes, he said.
“During an inauguratioin there are always potential for actors to target ‘soft targets'” such as government offices, churches, certain agencies, Ramsey said. But he added, “We have no credible information at this time about any attacks against soft targets.”
PPB Chief Chuck Lovell said they’re hopeful no crimes will be committed, but they are aware of certain things being discussed.
“There are some online posts about possible direct action events,” he said, noting “planners discouraged live streaming to allow for criminal acts. We’re monitoring several events, including one at 2 p.m. at Revolution Hall.”
Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said their first priority is “to protect critical infrastructure throughout Multnomah County — the Justice Center, courthouses, county buildings.”
Reese said that, if they’re asked, they’re prepared to send resources down to Salem.
Port of Portland Police
Port of Portland Chief Jason Wallis said they’re focusing on protecting the aviation system at PDX. He is aware of the heightened concern but he also said, “At this time we know of no specific threats to the airport.”
Then the prosecutors spoke — Multnomah County DA Mike Schmidt and Billy Williams, the US Attorney for Oregon.
Schmidt said the Multnomah County public safety system is ready to prosecute anyone who commits property damage.
Williams said he is confident everyone will see a peaceful transition of power and noted the Department of Justice and its partners are doing what they can to ensure that.
“I watched in disgust and anger as insurrectionists stormed our Capitol,” Williams said. “Those acts cannot represent who we are as Americans. Similar copycat acts of violence in Oregon will be prosecuted similarly.”
Williams had a message for anyone who may want to be violent or cause damage.
“You are forewarned: Criminal acts will come with a price.”