Good Morning, I am Lieutenant Tina Jones, the Public Information Officer with the Portland Police Bureau. I am here today to provide some updates and critical information about planned demonstrations for Saturday, August 17th.
- Several weeks ago, we learned a group was planning a demonstration at Tom McCall Waterfront Park for Saturday, August 17th,
- Other groups have declared they will participate in the event by counter-protesting,
- Based upon publicly available social media information, it became obvious that some who plan to join this event may intend to engage in acts of violence and commit crimes and some intend to bring weapons,
- The groups involved have expressed extreme opposite ideologies,
- In the past, when similar groups have encountered one another in Portland, some of the participants have engaged in violence and criminal acts,
- The latest information is some of the participants intend to gather as early as 9:30 a.m.
- At this time, there have been no applications for permits for these events.
Now I will discuss planning and partnerships:
- The Crowd Management Incident Commander and her team have been preparing for this event for weeks and our strategic communication team has been working hard to keep the public informed with the latest information,
- The assessment of the events determined it was beyond the resources the Portland Police Bureau had available even with the decision made to cancel days off for our sworn members. We still face a critical staffing shortage that impacts our ability to answer 911 calls as well as manage a large crowd event simultaneously,
- Local, State, and Federal partner agencies have responded to our request for assistance with these demonstrations and other critical needs,
- Some of the partners will be directly assisting with the crowd management component. For example, they may have specialized crowd management teams deployed with us. Others will be assisting by covering calls for service throughout the City while these events are occurring.
- We greatly appreciate all of the partner agencies who have offered assistance with personnel, expertise, and support,
- I am providing a handout listing all of the partner agencies who have been assisting or will be on Saturday,
Now I will discuss our goals and expectations:
- Our number one goal for this event is the safety of all involved, which includes participants, the public, and our officers
- The safety of these events is contingent upon all of us, and we need your help to keep these events safe,
- First, our expectation is for those involved to refrain from engaging in criminal acts, especially acts of violence,
- Second, if someone witnesses an act of violence, a criminal act, or something that is alarming in nature for the public’s safety, please call 911. We are unable to be everywhere and see everything. Do not assume the police see what you saw even if we are in close proximity,
- Third, it is imperative for everyone involved to follow the orders of the law enforcement officers, this includes passers-by and media. If there are orders to get out of the street or to disperse, for example, those orders apply to everyone in the vicinity. If individuals do not follow those orders, they are subject to arrest and/or force being applied. We would prefer not to have to make arrests or apply force, but if orders are not followed, these may be our only options.
- Detectives are assigned to investigate crimes if they are committed during Saturday’s event. They ask for the public’s help in providing information and video if crimes are committed and individuals witness those crimes. Details on how to do that will be on the press release,
- Our crowd management liaison teams have been attempting to and making contact with various individuals planning to attend Saturday’s events. They will continue to do so and you will see them engaging with individuals and groups with the goal of increasing public safety,
- The liaison officers have new uniforms we would like you to be aware of. Sergeant Burley is wearing one today. The liaisons will be outfitted in white polo shirts emblazoned with “Liaisons” along with gray pants. Some officers may be wearing an external vest as well (Thank you Sergeant Burley),
Now I will cover road closures:
- There are some road closures we want to make the public aware of
- On Saturday starting at 4 a.m., the Hawthorne Bridge will be closed in both directions to vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic. It will remain closed until it is determined appropriate to re-open it.
- Additionally, Southwest 2nd Avenue from Main to Madison Streets will be closed beginning at 4 a.m. to pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic. This also means Central Precinct will not be open to the public during this closure.
- Besides the mentioned road closures, other roads are open to vehicular traffic. If participants intend to march, they are directed to stay on the sidewalks and out of the roadway. Failure to do so may result in arrest and/or citation.
To wrap up, I have some important take-aways for the participants and the community at large:
- Crowd management events are dynamic in nature and can be unpredictable and very fluid. We published a map of the small region we believe may be impacted by these events. There has been some inaccurate reporting on what that map means. The area highlighted is the area we believe could be impacted but it is important to understand that can change, so we ask for those in the surrounding area to have situational awareness,
- It is important for the public to know we will be interacting and communicating with individuals and groups who hold varied ideological beliefs. Our interactions are necessary to increase public safety and should not be construed as bias, preference, or endorsement of any particular point of view or side.
- Law enforcement personnel’s role is to protect and serve the public and this is done neutrally and in accordance with the Constitution, Federal, State, and local laws,
- The Portland Police Bureau and our partners are committed to doing everything we can to keep the public safe during these events. I will be providing frequent situation updates via Twitter, including the area impacted, what is happening, and information on road or area closures as appropriate. Please follow us @PortlandPolice on Twitter to receive these important updates,
- We recognize these events can cause alarm, anxiety, or fear for certain members in the community. We are mindful of these concerns and emotions and have built a communication’s plan keeping this in mind. Additionally, we encourage participants and community members to seek support as necessary.
- We will be providing physical and emotional support to our members because we recognize their wellness is important too,
- We know in this political environment we will be criticized for what we do and what happens no matter the outcome. That criticism is not our primary concern or focus. Our primary mission is to do everything we can to keep event safe while ensuring those who gather peacefully can express their first amendment rights.
- Thank you all for your attention and we appreciate your help with achieving our goal to keep everyone safe.
I will take time for some questions, then we will have an off line administrative update for media.