PORTLAND, Ore — In downtown Portland, the whine of power saws cutting boards and drills spinning screws into concrete reveal the work underway to prepare for expected large and perhaps destructive crowds on Nov. 3, election night.
The plywood covers glass on storefronts and buildings around much of Portland’s downtown area.
The fresh boards join blocks of other buildings already boarded up to help them survive the past several months of protests which sometimes turned violent in the city.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown addressed the new concerns Monday when she ordered the state police and Multnomah county sheriff's office to take charge of security for the city and put the national guard on standby.
“I want to be very, clear that voter intimidation and political violence will not be tolerated. Not from the left, not from the right, not from the center. Not this week, not any week in Oregon,” Brown said.
It is the first time in recent history that the three organizations were mobilized to protect Portland during an election. And while Portland city police are not allowed to use tear gas during riots the other agencies can.
Despite the promise of extra law enforcement businesses are doing what they can to prepare.
“Everybody's a little bit scared,” said Stacey Gibson. She owns a Subway franchise in downtown Portland.
Gibson is also one of many worried about violent rampages throughout the city connected to the election.
“We're getting ready. We'll finish boarding up tonight or tomorrow morning just like everybody else around here, you can see. We’re starting to board up everything out of precautions more than anything else. So, a little nervous,” Gibson added.
The head of the Portland Business Alliance, the city's version of a chamber of commerce, urged residents to denounce violence and destruction.
“Portlanders should reject that sort of behavior. It does not represent a political view. It’s simply violence and criminal activity,” Andrew Hoan said.