CDO Statement on DHS Occupation of Downtown Portland

The College Democrats of Oregon are simply horrified at what is unfolding in Portland this week.

For context, unmarked federal officers are pulling protesters into unmarked vehicles. These officers wear full military uniforms, but they do not wear a badge or any kind of insignia‒‒only a generic patch that says ‘POLICE.’ Sen. Jeff Merkley said it best: ‘Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters.’

We also want to acknowledge Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf’s unexpected visit to Portland. Citing rampant graffiti, he said ‘the city of Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city.’ In the midst of a pandemic, the fact that the Trump administration is focusing their attention on curbing graffiti is almost comical, and certainly a political stunt.

Let us remember that our fellow Americans are still losing their jobs and health insurance at record numbers. Across the country, Americans are facing existential threats and the federal government chooses to focus on graffiti in Portland, Oregon‒‒this is very telling.

The federal government has overstepped its bounds and has consequently violated the fundamental principles of federalism and state power. Neither Gov. Kate Brown nor Mayor Ted Wheeler asked for federal help. In fact, they both requested the DHS to leave. This is the federal government imposing its military power on its own city, against the will of local officials and residents. The College Democrats of Oregon deeply condemn the authoritarian actions of the DHS and the Trump administration. We join our local and state officials in calling for them to leave.


Contact: John Freudenthal, Communications Director