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Oregon FBI launches command post for possible weekend unrest

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 14, 2021

Associated Press

Associated Press

PORTLAND – The FBI said Thursday it is standing up a command post in Portland, Oregon, to prepare for any potential violent activity this weekend and into next week related to the mob attack in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6.

The agency said it will gather intelligence and work with other law enforcement agencies in the run-up to potential protests this weekend and next week in the run-up to President-Elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday. Protests are expected in the nation’s Capitol and in all 50 states by right-wing groups and supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump on Sunday and next week.

The Oregon National Guard has been activated to help guard the state Capitol in Salem and local and state authorities are also preparing to deal with any potential unrest.

Renn Cannon, FBI special-agent-in-charge for Oregon, said his agency would take a “heightened posture” and is focused on identifying individuals from Oregon involved in the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol while disrupting any similar plans in Oregon in the coming days.

Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said Thursday in an emailed statement that he’s aware of heightened concern related to local reaction to the inauguration and said there are no known specific threats to Portland at this time.

“We have been planning for Inauguration Day, and the days leading up to it, with local and federal partners to ensure coordinated efforts to maintain peace,” Lovell said.

The FBI command post will include special agents, bomb technicians, an evidence response team and tactical and intelligence teams to respond to any violence at the state Capitol or federal buildings.

The FBI is urging people in Oregon to call the agency at (503) 224-4181 or go to tips.fbi.gov to submit information regarding any potential violence at any upcoming protest or event.

“We cannot be successful without the help of the American people as work to fulfill our mission: protect the American people and uphold the U.S. Constitution,” Cannon said in a printed statement.

Lovell added that people can love and support each other as brothers and sisters in spite of differences.

“I hope that you will join with me, even before the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, in making the coming days, ones of peace,” Lovell said.

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