Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has extended the law enforcement unified command she established in Portland through Friday. Brown’s initial order was set to be in place through Wednesday afternoon.
Anticipating widespread protests and unrest amidst a tense election, Brown put Oregon State Police Superintendent Terri Davie and Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese in charge of the unified command and ordered elements from the Oregon National Guard to be on standby in the event they were needed.
“Especially this year, there are unique dynamics at play that may create an environment ripe for a heated Election Day, and post-election period. This election also comes at a pivotal moment in Oregon, where the pandemic, wildfires and political atmosphere have boosted fear and anxiety,” Brown said Monday in her initial announcement.
After President Donald Trump won the 2016 election, Portlanders took to the streets in what would go on to be more than a week of protests and saw the city labeled the center of Trump resistance. Four years later, the election comes after five months of near nightly demonstrations for racial justice and frequent violent clashes with police and political provocateurs.
While hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Southeast Portland on Tuesday night, the demonstrations remained peaceful and continued their months long focus on racial justice. But with the outcome of the Presidential election still uncertain, Brown opted to extend the order until those results are finalized.
“Across the United States, elections officials are working hard to ensure that every vote is counted, and it may be several days until we know the results of this election,” Brown said in her statement extending the command. “It’s important to trust the process, and the system that has ensured free and fair elections in this country through the decades, even in times of great crisis.”