Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Oregon Democrat, insists that the protest chaos in Portland isn’t as bad as it looks, despite some “inappropriate and unlawful” behavior.
“Portland, Oregon, is not out of control,” said the congressman in a Tuesday floor speech. “To be sure, there are some people who have strong feelings and there are some that have done things that are inappropriate and unlawful.”
His description of the situation on the ground came in sharp contrast to the nightly videos posted by Portland journalist Andy Ngo and local news stations showing crowds of agitators tangling with police, setting fires, looting and breaking windows.
Mr. Blumenauer, whose district includes large portions of the city, decried the presence of federal law-enforcement officers assigned to protect the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse and other downtown federal buildings, accusing the Trump administration of “declaring war on my hometown.”
“But that is the challenge of our local officials and our state officials to manage it, not having somebody unwelcome, uninvited and unprepared coming in and take this difficult situation and make it worse,” said Mr. Blumenauer.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have also called on the federal teams to exit the city, arguing that their arrival has exacerbated the already tense situation, while federal officials counter that state and local officials have done nothing to stop the attacks on federal property.
Portland’s Justice Center area has seen late-night protests for 54 straight days, which start peacefully but then turn chaotic after violent agitators arrive each night at about midnight, according to federal officials.