Tags: Climate Change | Global Warming | Law Enforcement | oregon | wildfires | armed | checkpoints

Oregon Sheriff Pleads for Halt to Armed Checkpoints

Matt Watts stands guard with firearms outside his home after wildfires caused many of his neighbors to evacuate
Matt Watts stands guard with firearms outside his home after wildfires and heavy smoke caused many of his neighbors to evacuate the area, in Estacada, Oregon, on Sept. 12. (Robyn Beck/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 15 September 2020 04:30 PM

The sheriff of Clackamas County southeast of Portland, Oregon, has pleaded with local residents to stop setting up armed checkpoints leading into evacuation areas being threatened by wildfires, saying people with firearms are trying to protect property but it could lead to tragic results.

"We have a group of different individuals that are actually trying to protect property," Sheriff Craig Roberts told a news conference of reporters Monday. "They actually have been armed and are stopping individuals within the community out there.

"First thing I'd ask them to do is please stop that. We have reached out to a number of them. If they see somebody suspicious, call us. Let us handle it. It is illegal to stop somebody at gunpoint."

Firefighters in Oregon have battled more than 35 wildfires over the past week, NBC network's Portland affiliate KGW reported, and Roberts told the news conference that his office had responded more than 330 calls over the previous two days, representing a 400% increase from the previous week.

Most of the calls had to do with trespassing or suspicious individuals.

"We've made some arrests, but the majority of those calls are unfounded," Roberts said. "We had a truck with gasoline containers in the back of it. A 911 call came in, and folks tracked it down.

"When we tracked it down, the individual was delivering gas to folks with generators in the area, trying to keep fridges running. There's just a lot of misinformation about folks trying to set fires, I want to reassure everybody we're on this, if you see anything suspicious call us."

Nearly a million acres have burned over the past week putting nearly 500,000 residents in evacuation areas, CBS network's Portland affiliate KOIN reported.

"Many of the people we have seen going into these areas are actually going in to get another load of their personal belongings," Roberts said. "The last thing I want to see is something tragically happen because somebody is overreacting to something they believe is criminal and it's not."

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The sheriff of Clackamas County southeast of Portland, Oregon, has pleaded with local residents to stop setting up armed checkpoints leading into evacuation areas being threatened by wildfires.
oregon, wildfires, armed, checkpoints, portland, clackamas county, sheriff
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2020-30-15
Tuesday, 15 September 2020 04:30 PM
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