US buildings closed in Portland after car-bomb threat made

Officials say the threat warned of the intention to use a car bomb to target federal property in Oregon’s largest city.

Violent demonstrations have been taking place in Oregon's largest city for more than two months following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis [Twitter Grave Morgan via Reuters]

At least two federal buildings in Portland have been closed and the FBI is investigating after a car bomb threat was made, officials have said.

The threat, which was received Thursday, warned of the intention to use a car bomb to target federal property in Portland, according to two law enforcement officials.

A number of federal offices in the area have been closed because of the threat, the officials said on Friday. The officials could not discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the threat is credible, the FBI said in a statement.

The Portland office of the US Bankruptcy Court was closed because of a threat of violence in the area, according to the court’s website. Also closed was the Mark O. Hatfield Federal courthouse, which was the site of weeks of violent protests last month.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets of Oregon’s largest city nightly since the May police killing of George Floyd and clashed repeatedly with federal agents dispatched to protect the courthouse. A statement on the courthouse website did not say why the building had closed.

The FBI’s statement said: “If we develop information indicating a credible threat, we will notify the public.”

Protesters this week have focused their ire on the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building in Portland.

Clashes overnight

People in a group of about 100 late Thursday and before dawn on Friday sprayed the building with graffiti, hurled rocks and bottles at agents and shined laser lights at them, Portland police said in a statement.

The agents set off smoke or tear gas and used crowd-control munitions to try to disperse the crowd, The Oregonian’s OregonLive website reported. Three people were arrested, police said in their statement.

There was a separate peaceful demonstration of about 100 people who marched to the Portland police union office and along streets in North Portland without incident, OregonLive reported. 

Portland protests

The violence came a day after protesters clashed with federal agents for the first time since July in a demonstration that also targeted the ICE building. Two people were arrested and several officers suffered minor injuries.

On Thursday, police released information that showed during more than 80 nights of protests in Portland, authorities declared riots more than 17 times and arrested more than 500 people.

The riot declarations allow police to use tear gas, flash-bang grenades and other non-lethal weapons to try to break up crowds.

Portland police define riots as events “when six or more persons engage in tumultuous and violent conduct and thereby intentionally or recklessly creating a grave risk of causing public alarm, excluding persons who are engaged in passive resistance,” OregonLive reported.

Source: AP