By Jake Dima
Bands of armed Oregonians blocked roads and demanded identification from motorists after a small fire was ignited intentionally on Saturday, police said.
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese said the blaze was started by an illegal firework and was put out quickly, according to a Saturday tweet from the department. Oregon has been plagued by wildfires in recent days, as 22 people on the West Coast have lost their lives and large portions of the state were covered by an orange hue, ABC News reported.
“It's the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 14, 2020
“We started receiving reports of local residents establishing roadblocks in East Multnomah County,” Reese said in the tweet.
“Deputies responded to reports some people were armed and asking for identification of the folks they stopped. We told people engaging in this behavior that roadways are open to all users, and their actions are illegal and they could be subject to citation or arrest.”
Sheriff Mike Reese issues a statement regarding illegal roadblocks and fire concerns in East Multnomah County. pic.twitter.com/WvmIavU39V
— Multnomah Co. Sheriff’s Office (@MultCoSO) September 12, 2020
Reese told the public that Multnomah County, which houses Portland, is not under an evacuation mandate, and he did not release a motive for the roadblocks. The Sheriff said his office “will not tolerate” the “illegal activity.”
“The Sheriff’s Office will not tolerate illegal activity of any kind, including civilian roadblocks,” he said in the tweet. “We want to remind people, if they see suspicious activity or persons, call 911.”