Before There Was Al-Qaeda, There Were Right-Wing Groups

The national political dialog should inform your hazard and risk planning.

by Eric Holdeman / August 19, 2019

Today, Aug. 17, in Portland there is the potential for violence to occur when the right-wing and the left-wing face off. The level of violence, if any, will be determined by the numbers and actions of individuals on both sides. See Portland braces for dueling protests: What we know.

You would not think that the land of lattes and consensus would also be a location that would harbor right-wing ultra nationalist organizations, and biker gangs, but these where the major concerns of law enforcement agencies at the local, state and federal level here in the Pacific Northwest back in the late 1990s.

Hayden, Idaho, was one of the hot spots for Aryan Nations to hang out and be their home base. There was also significant biker gang activity in northwest Washington state. Those there specialized in criminal activity, drugs, etc. 

As for laid-back Portland, they have for over two decades or more (two that I personally know of) had strong left-wing groups of anarchists who have tried to cause mayhem at different public events, like the WTO Riots in Seattle in 1999 

More recently they have been in the news for filling potholes ...

As our national political dialog has deteriorated in the political realm, this has caused the fringe groups to once again become more visible — since we know they never went away completely.  

Note to emergency managers. Like planning for heat waves, which might not have been commonplace in the past, add political violence in all its forms to your list of risks and hazards to plan for. 


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