In the wake of a mass shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue that killed 11 people Saturday morning, Portland police say they will add more patrols around Jewish houses of worship in this city.
"The Police Bureau is aware of the concern and sadness incidents such as the one in Pittsburgh have on the community in Portland," Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said in a statement. "Our officers are reaching out to leaders of Jewish houses of worship in the City of Portland and will be present to provide security and a sense of safety as community members come together to grieve and begin the healing process."
Oregon elected officials reacted with horror and disgust to the slaughter by an anti-Semitic gunman. The suspect, Robert Bowers, believed Jews were conspiring to bring more refugees to the U.S., and told his fellow right-wing extremists on the social media platform Gab that he had decided to do something about it.
It is the latest in a series of hate attacks marking the rise of white nationalism in the United States following the election of President Donald Trump. The president regularly rails against immigrants, media and "globalists"—a commonly known term disparaging Jews. Right-wing media has encouraged the conspiracy theory that prominent Jewish people, like the philanthropist George Soros, are trying to replace the nation's white population with immigrants and other people of color.
Among local officials, U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon) came the closest to linking today's killings to the rantings of President Trump. "The recent acts of anti-Semitism, hate, racism, and bigotry that our country has seen cannot be tolerated," she said in a statement. "The hateful rhetoric we are hearing on a daily basis must end, and Congress must pass and implement policies to reduce gun violence. Enough is enough."
"Antisemitism persists & is on the rise," U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) wrote on Twitter. "Acts of terror against people in their places of worship are particularly heinous and must receive the strongest possible response. My heart goes out to the victims, their families & the Tree of Life Congregation."
Oregon's junior U.S. senator, Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), echoed those sentiments. "This is a tragic act of terror," Merkley wrote. "This antisemitic attack in Pittsburgh while people are in a place of sanctuary observing the sabbath is pure evil."
And U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) said he had recently visited Pittsburgh. "My heart goes out to the victims of the horrific attack, members of the Jewish community, and all those subjected to hate & fear," he wrote.