PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After The Guardian newspaper reported armed groups of civilians stopped men, women and children in the Corbett area, Multnomah County Commission Chair Deborah Kafoury blasted civilians who may be taking the law into their own hands.
“I am saddened and outraged that this fire season, when we are all battling to protect our communities and keep our families safe from wildfire and smoke, The Guardian newspaper is reporting that armed groups stopped men, women and children traveling through that community, often as they were fleeing to safety,” Kafoury said in a statement released Thursday.
“I will absolutely not tolerate vigilantism of any kind in Multnomah County, especially when it further traumatizes people escaping a disaster,” she added.
Kafoury said she was also “deeply concerned” the words of some the the Multnomah County Sheriff’s staff were seen “as support or encouragement for roadblocks and vigilante patrols.” She asked Sheriff Mike Reese to look into these allegations and deliver a report.
She went further and pointed to “disinformation, scapegoating and the unfounded fears of others, encouraged and normalized by falsehoods and hate from the White House and amplified on Facebook” as something as dangerous as society has ever faced.
“That is why catastrophic fires that brought us together, are now so effectively driving us apart,” she said.
Clackamas County issues
Looting has been reported in Clackamas County and the sheriff’s office there released statistics late Wednesday that noted 13 arrests in Level 2 and Level 3 evacuation zones were made over a 7-day period, with some suspects booked on multiple charges.
At a press conference Wednesday, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts was extremely direct and pointed in his remarks: There is no room for vigilantes in Clackamas County and they will be prosecuted. And he re-iterated there is “no evidence” that any group of any political persuasion is setting fires or causing crime.