Federal agents who have clashed with protesters in Portland, Oregon, will begin a “phased withdrawal” from the city, Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement the plan negotiated with Brown over the last 24 hours includes a “robust presence” of Oregon State Police in the downtown of the state’s largest city.
Democratic mayors wrote to Congress Monday, asking for limitations on the Trump administration deployment of “unidentified federal officers” to their cities to calm protests, according to a letter posted on Twitter.
The mayors requested that federal agents be required to present identification except “on an undercover mission authorized by the local U.S. Attorney,” according to the letter Wheeler posted on Twitter. Six Democratic mayors, including Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland and Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago signed the letter.
Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon was tear gassed Wednesday night while he was at the federal courthouse speaking with protesters, according to a video shared on Twitter.
“I’m not gonna lie, it stings, it’s hard to breathe. Man, uh, I can tell you with 100% honesty, I saw nothing that provoked this response. It’s absolutely stunning. I’m not afraid, but I am pissed off,” Wheeler said in a video tweeted by reporter Mike Baker of The New York Times.
Nearly two months of nightly protests that have devolved into violent clashes with police have prompted soul-searching in Portland, Oregon, a city that prides itself on its progressive reputation but is increasingly polarized over how to handle the unrest.
President Donald Trump recently deployed federal agents to “quell” the demonstrations in Portland that began after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, shining an unwelcome spotlight as the city struggles to find a way forward. The national attention comes as divisions deepen among elected officials about the legitimacy of the more violent protests — striking at the heart of Portland’s identity as an ultraliberal haven where protest is seen as a badge of honor.