Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that federal agents deployed at the Mark O. Hatfield federal courthouse in Portland will be doing a “phased withdrawal” beginning Thursday.
The governor added that the federal agents will also clean up the building’s exterior, which is covered with graffiti.
At the same time, Oregon State Police will stay at the building to “provide protection for free speech”. Brown added that a small contingent of year-round personnel who already occupied the federal courthouse will stay there.
Travis Hampton, superintendent of OSP, said his troopers would seek a different tone while guarding the courthouse.
“It is obvious the current strategy is not sustainable and has the high probability of serious injury or death, as officers and community members clash. OSP hopes to deescalate the tensions around Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse, facilitating peaceful free speech and proportional response if criminal activity is observed.”
Federal officials, however, appeared noncommittal about the withdrawal terms.
“We will maintain our current, augmented federal law enforcement personnel in Portland until we are assured that the Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal properties will no longer be attacked and that the seat of justice in Portland will remain secure. We’re glad Oregon is now correcting their monthslong error,” Wolf said.
Federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s specialized BORTAC unit, have been manning the courthouse in Portland since early July.