OR GOP chair wants National Guard to stop PDX riots

Hales declined to respond to Currier's comment

Oregon Republican Party Chair Bill Currier, March 2, 2016 (KOIN)
Oregon Republican Party Chair Bill Currier, March 2, 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — The chairman of the Oregon Republican Party has called for Mayor Charlie Hales to resign and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown to mobilize the Oregon National Guard after five nights of anti-Donald Trump riots in Portland that caused at least $1 million in property damage and repeatedly shut down city streets, transit lines and area freeways.

“The mayor took an oath to maintain control of the city and he has lost control. Where’s the accountability? It’s understandable that the police can’t control thousands of protesters, so the governor needs to step in and restore order,” Bill Currier told the Portland Tribune early Sunday.

No protesters were arrested late Sunday or early Monday, however. Instead, a planned vigil in Tom McCall Waterfront Park was peaceful, although TriMet suspended downtown transit service for much of the evening.

Hales declined to respond to Currier’s comment through his office spokesman, Brian Worley.

The Portland Tribune is a KOIN media partner.

Brown spokesman Bryan Hockaday said, “At Governor Brown’s direction, Oregon State Police are supporting Portland Police with additional officers and equipment. Portland Police, as the law enforcement agency in charge, will continue to take the lead and is keeping OSP and Governor Brown apprised. She is prepared to consider additional resources if and when it is deemed appropriate.”

Currier first called on Hales to resign for dereliction of duty in a Friday press release after police declared the third night of protests a riot. Currier called for Hales’ resignation in a press release again Saturday, and issued two press releases Sunday saying it was past time for Brown to take action.

“Instead of ordering ODOT to place trucks on freeway on-ramps to assist in closing the freeways to facilitate Portland rioters, the appropriate and responsible thing for Governor Brown to do is to place National Guard trucks and State Troopers in those areas to block these unlawful protests and put the safety of innocent citizens first,” Currier said in the second press release, referring to the Oregon Department of Transportation closing I-5 and I-84 in Portland after protesters swarmed on them.

Although the Oregon Republican Party supported Trump for President and City Council is non-partisan but comprised of Democrats, Currier said he is not playing partisan politics.

Half the state and half of our party members live in the public area. They all have a right to feel save. Right now people are afraid to go into Portland to work or shop. It’s embarrassing,” Currier told the Portland Tribune.

Currier said his comments are not meant to be critical of the police, who he believes were held back by Hales.

“Hales encouraged and enabled the protests, and now its turned into riots and anarchy. The damage is already over $1 million, and it will be a lot higher when this over,” Currier told the Portland Tribune.

In addition to being chairman of the state GOP, Currier owns an information technology company and is the mayor of Adair Village, a city in Benton County.