Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw says she's concerned by the violent rhetoric surrounding a planned right-wing demonstration this month.
"There is concern about the criminal intentions being expressed in the publicly available forums," Outlaw said in a statement today, "which suggest some attendees plan to engage in violence."
It's not certain which protesters Outlaw is referring to. But the Facebook page for the Aug. 17 right-wing protest, called "End Domestic Terrorism," has attracted a stream of death threats in the comments.
The planned rally has no city permit, police say. Like several recent protests, its chief aim is to call for a crackdown on its political opposites: Portland-based antifascists. The protest organizer, a Florida-based talk-radio host named Joe Biggs, wants antifa designated a domestic terrorist group.
"Ted Wheeler has failed miserably," the event announcement says. "He has allowed these domestic terrorists to commit acts of violence against the people of the United States."
Anger and frustration on the far right has grown since June 29, when conservative journalist Andy Ngo was assaulted by masked protesters in downtown Portland.
Antifascist groups, including organizers called Popular Mobilization, or Pop Mob, have announced a counter-demonstration on Aug. 17.
Outlaw says police are preparing for violence.
"We are taking this into account and developing an appropriate plan with adequate resources to prepare for this eventuality," Outlaw says in today's statement. "We will be putting out more information in various formats leading up to and during the event in order to keep the public informed of the expectations and the situation. We will also be doing outreach to provide information to local businesses, residents, and visitors so they will know what to expect and the likely areas to be impacted."
Earlier this week, Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner called for arresting anyone who marches in the streets without a permit.
"It's a simple formula: have enough police officers present on August 17th to protect peaceful first amendment activities," Turner said. "If laws are broken, if it turns violent, officers should be empowered with the resources to enforce the laws and keep the peace. We've all grown weary of excuses."