Oregon Governor Kay Brown announced that she’d reached an arrangement to have federal officers leave Portland.
“After my discussions with VP Pence and others, the federal government has agreed to withdraw federal officers from Portland. They have acted as an occupying force & brought violence. Starting tomorrow, all Customs and Border Protection & ICE officers will leave downtown Portland.”
We can take issue with her characterization, as the federal officers were stationed at the federal courthouse, so they didn’t “occupy” anything and rioters came to them each night, but that’s not the point.
The federal officers will leave and, according to Brown, the protection of the federal courthouse will now fall to Oregon State Police.
But acting DHS Secretary Wolf apparently didn’t get the memo at first. In a contradictory tweet, he wrote:
“As I told the Governor yesterday, federal law enforcement will remain in Portland until the violent activity toward our federal facilities ends. We are not removing any law enforcement while our facilities and law enforcement remain under attack.”
Later acting Secretary Wolf acknowledged an agreement for federal officers to leave and for state authorities to take over security for the property.
Governor Brown is taking a big risk. If protesters stop rioting, she can look like a hero and cast federal authorities as the villains. But if the protesters return and succeed in damaging the building, she’ll either have to let them, which will show the protesters as villains, or stop them by force, which will make state authorities the bad guys. She’d have been better off letting the feds and protesters duke it out.
But let’s go back to a suggestion from a few days ago. How about we evacuate federal officers after the state agrees to compensate the federal government for any damage, and as an act of good faith puts some funds in escrow to that end? Better yet, just tell the Oregon governor that we’ll deduct it from her highway funds.