A new study has placed Oregon among the top five states with a potential for violence following the general election on November 3rd.
The ACLED study spotlights right-wing militia groups, paying very little attention to Antifa and other left- or socialist-affiliated groups, under the premise that right-wing groups have historically posed a greater threat.
But local and federal authorities say they are concerned about violence from both ends of the political spectrum and are making preparations accordingly.
“When you think about it, violent crime that is occurring makes it more difficult for people to go out and make their voices heard. We’re trying to make sure we preserve everybody’s first amendment rights, while also protecting public safety. Rest assured that the law enforcement community along with many other agencies, we’re all working very hard to make sure this election is safe and secure, and every vote gets counted.”
No imminent threat has been confirmed in Oregon by the FBI. Nevertheless, battle lines are already being drawn and plans formulated for a “Week of Action” following the election by local anti-fascist groups, no matter who gets elected.
“What we are focused on right now in Oregon is protecting people’s right to free speech and making sure that protesters can safely exercise that right,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown.
“But I want to encourage Oregonians and Americans across the country: When the fabric of our society is frayed, it is so important that our democracy remains strong.”
The Portland Police Bureau is working with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police to ensure a safe election day and the days following.
Deputy Chief Chris Davis encourages everyone to vote and express their first amendment rights, but has warned that fires, vandalism, and blocking traffic are activities that won’t be tolerated.
Portland has experienced massive upticks in homicides and gun violence since protests against law enforcement began in May.
Last month there was a 268.8% spike in gun violence compared to September of 2019. This follows rising gun violence rates throughout the summer: 96.8% in June, 186.1% in July, and 195.1% in August.
Over 40 homicides have occurred this year, and an additional 3 just occurred this past weekend. Portland homicide investigators found themselves overwhelmed in a 36-hour period with a fatal shooting, a fatal stabbing, and a dead body found in a burning car. Most of those homicides have occurred since June.
Of course, it wasn’t right-wing militas tearing down statues, breaking windows of city buildings, and vandalizing black-owned businesses in an organized “Indigenous Peoples Day of Rage” the night before Columbus Day.
It wasn’t right-wing militias who assaulted an elderly driver during a demonstration on a Seattle highway.
It hasn’t been right-wing militias marching through peaceful neighborhoods, breaking windows.
The other four states identified by ACLED as in danger of political violence are Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.