Authorities in Oregon are bracing for another potential outbreak of violence next weekend as conservative demonstrators and Antifa supporters face off at dual protests along Portland's waterfront, spurring the city's mayor to deliver a direct message on Wednesday to anyone planning violent acts: We don't want you here.
The Portland Police Bureau announced last Friday it was preparing for a "variety of demonstration events" being planned for Saturday, Aug. 17 at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the Willamette River, and that based on publically available information "these events are being promoted by individuals or organizations with differing ideologies."
"There is concern about the criminal intentions being expressed in the publically available forums which suggest some attendees plan to engage in violence," Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said at the time. "We are taking this into account and developing an appropriate plan with adequate resources to prepare for this eventuality."
Portland has been the site of several violent clashes at demonstrations in recent years between far-left Antifa and far-right protesters, including violent attacks at the end of June that left eight people injured, including conservative writer Andy Ngo, who works for the website Quillette. Ngo said he sustained a brain injury during the assault.
In a video message posted to YouTube on Wednesday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said "extremists from across the political spectrum" have used the city to "commit acts of violence while spreading their messages." Wheelers said officials have learned that groups plan on doing the same thing on Aug. 17, to spread hateful messages in addition to coming "with the explicit intent to commit violence."
“Hear me when I say this: To those people planning to come and inflict violence in our city, we don’t want you here,” the mayor said.
Wheeler said he has directed the Portland police to "use whatever means necessary" and "amass whatever resources necessary" in order to ensure public safety and uphold the law. While he did not disclose specific plans, the mayor said the city is working with regional partners “make sure those who break the law are held accountable" in addition to having additional resources and coordination.
Days before Wheeler's video message, Portland's police chief had a similar message to protestors who come to the city on Aug. 17 and plan on being violent.
“Don’t come. We don’t want you here. I don’t care what side you’re on,” Outlaw said on Monday, according to The Oregonian.
Portland police said in a news release that so far, no organization or event organizer has applied for permits at the events being advertised to take place next weekend.
One event is being advertised as an "End Domestic Terrorism" rally, organized by former Infowars staffer Joe Biggs, who wrote on Facebook "we are coming for Antifa," the Oregonian reported. Biggs also claimed he's spoken to groups such as Proud Boys and that "more than a thousand men" were going to show up in Portland on Aug. 17, according to the paper.
In response to the Biggs event, Rose City Antifa has called its supporters "to defend Portland against far-Right attack."
In a post on its website called "The Far-Right Plans to Invade Portland on August 17th," the local Antifa group claims that people from "all over the country" are coming to "bring their branded political violence to our streets."
"We call on the community to defend itself, as it has countless times before. We must tell these far-Right and neo-Nazi groups that they are not welcome in Portland, and their search for victims on our streets will not be tolerated," the post states.
On Tuesday, Wheeler told the Oregonian that asking Gov. Kate Brown for assistance from the Oregon National Guard was “one more potential tool in the toolkit," but did not say if he requested any state aid. Outlaw told the paper that would be the governor's call if the rapid response teams will be placed on standby.
“We’d be remiss in our duties in planning if we didn’t at least consider it, given that we’ve trained with them the last few years,’’ Outlaw told the paper.
Wheeler, who’s been in office since January 2017, faced serious fallout for the rise of Antifa in his city, particularly after a June 29 protest that led to the violent assault of Ngo. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at the time called for a federal investigation into Wheeler and his actions that may have allowed “domestic terrorists” to attack Americans on the streets.
But Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner as part of the mayor’s office, denied he was responsible for lack of policing at the protest, saying he was out of the country at the time and "never made a tactical decision."
Last month, President Trump said he is considering declaring the far-left Antifa activist group a terrorist organization, equating it with the MS-13 street gang. Trump's tweet came days after Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced non-binding legislation that would designate the group as a domestic terrorist organization.
Fox News' Louis Casiano contributed to this report.