PORTLAND, Ore. — The Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Portland experienced a night of relative calm on Thursday, following weeks of riots and unrest as rioters attempted to damage the building and injure the federal officers that had been deployed to protect the federal property.
Protests have been ongoing in the area of the Hatfield Courthouse for over 60 days, but it often gave way to violent actions from the crowd. Fireworks and glass bottles were favorites for rioters to hurl over the fence when officers came out to push people away after experiencing multiple breaches. That all seemed to change when it was announced Oregon State Police will be deployed to help take over security for the courthouse.
Changing of the guard underway at the federal courthouse as ?@ORStatePolice? take charge of security here. Handful of troopers in standard uniform & iconic hats now behind the fence as afternoon commute is underway. pic.twitter.com/HbJd0ChSYh— Noelle Crombie (@noellecrombie) July 30, 2020
Veterans in support of the BLM protesters have showed up. pic.twitter.com/TFVADt45cQ— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) July 31, 2020
Per the agreement between the Department of Homeland Security and the city of Portland, the park directly across the street, which had served as a base camp for protesters and rioters, was cleared Thursday morning. While crowds came back into the park in the evening, they did not have the supplies and tents that had been at their disposal in the previous weeks.
Portland police and city crews have cleared and removed the big encampment in the park directly across the Hatfield Federal Courthouse. It was previously filled with tents, tables, and supplies. Crews are cleaning off the graffiti in the park. pic.twitter.com/pvCcgAkHSB— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) July 30, 2020
A sledge hammer, improvised weapons, leaf blowers, helmets, chest and leg armor, and fuel canister are some of the items recovered in Chapman and Lownsdale Squares this morning. pic.twitter.com/QXnppztBU6— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) July 30, 2020
While protests continued, it was not entirely peaceful. Glass bottles were still thrown over the fence, though not in as great a number, and when a fire was started inside the fence by an agitator, others pulled him away and they worked quickly to put out the fire.
A fire was started inside the courthouse fence by an agitator and he was quickly pulled off to the side while others rushed to put it out. pic.twitter.com/J5dMUsiN37— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) July 31, 2020
While on the scene, I did not see any federal officers step outside the courthouse, though they were still looking down on the crowd from the rooftop. It remains to be seen if the relative calm will continue in the days and weeks ahead. DHS made it clear that once it is determined the courthouse is no longer in danger, the extra officers will leave the city.