By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
Preparing for the possibility of political violence during tomorrow’s election, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency in the Portland area and mobilized the National Guard.
“Every Oregonian has the right to express themselves freely and to peacefully assemble. However, I want to be clear that voter intimidation and political violence will not be tolerated,” Brown said. “Not from the left, the right or the center. Not this week, not any week in Oregon.”
Brown is putting the Oregon State Police and Multnomah County Sheriff in charge of public safety in Portland this week.
“We’ve got a number of units that will be available on standby to assist with any riot, crowd control, traffic control, detention support, logistics,” said Major Mike Stencel, Oregon National Guard. “Whatever may be needed or requested by Oregon State Police or local law enforcement.”
In Central Oregon, police and county sheriffs are patrolling ballot drop box locations with a goal of deterring trouble before it starts.
A public service announcement making the rounds on social media is the latest effort at cooling the potential for political and racial violence locally.
“It’s representative of a history of leadership. It spans political divides; it spans racial ethnic divides,” said Jer Swigart, of Clergy for Justice. “It’s a video and a message that we dream of for Central Oregon that was co-authored in community and that is painting a picture, I think, of the Central Oregon that we want to see come to life.”
The video is a collaboration of Clergy for Justice, Central Oregon Diversity Project, Central Oregon Peacekeepers, Mosaic Medical, Father’s Group and the City of Bend.
Notably, it condemns white supremacy.
“I think there are 10 or 12 voices that appear in the video. Each one of them represents a particular position or stance but with a shared vision for Central Oregon where all who call this place home feel safe,” Swigart said.
Bend Mayor Sally Russell said there is power in the diversity of people who appear in the video.
She and others involved in its creation hope it makes people of color feel safe and lays the groundwork for more racial justice.
“Other than comments from the President of the United States discouraging Americans from voting by mail, I am not aware of threats and suppression happening throughout Oregon,” Brown said at today’s press conference.