Federal law enforcement agencies are investigating a fire in Washington County that took place outside a law enforcement officer’s home Wednesday.
The fire was arson and burned a vehicle, according to a spokesman for the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Law enforcement said they are still investigating, but believe the incident may be linked to recent protests in Portland and could be a form of intimidation.
“There’s concern in this case that the officer was surveilled and followed home,” one law enforcement officer with knowledge of the investigation told OPB.
During the summer, protesters and activists have regularly photographed and videotaped people leaving federal office buildings in the downtown core.
In July, lists allegedly containing the names of federal law enforcement officers were circulated among protesters and more recently, protesters vandalized City Commissioner Dan Ryan’s home after he voted against a proposal to reallocate police funding.
For months, stories have circulated in the Portland Police Bureau about officers being contacted online and of officers' homes being vandalized, according to PPB Lt. Greg Pashley. Early in the protests, the Portland Police Bureau allowed officers to cover their names with tape on their uniform. The decision was controversial and made accountability difficult and opaque at a time when police accountability and use of force were driving a national uprising.
“There were officers who had concerns that their personal information would be shared,” Pashley said, “and that somehow their personal lives would be impacted negatively either by threats or intimidation or criminal activity.”
Pashley had not heard about the alleged arson in Washington County.
The FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Washington County Sheriff’s Office; and Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue are investigating the fire outside the officer’s home.
Officials won’t say where the officer worked, but did confirm the officer did not work at the Portland Police Bureau.