FILE — Oregon Capitol statue

A statue of Oregon explorers Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea stands in front of the Oregon state Capitol building in Salem, Oregon surrounded by a construction fence which encompasses the area. The building has been closed to the general public since March of 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic health restrictions.

(The Center Square) — A man accused of assaulting five police officers while storming the Oregon state Capitol can now move to Arizona as he awaits trial, a Marion County judge decided Thursday.

Chandler Pappas, an associate of various far-right groups like Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys, has become a common sight at armed protests around Oregon and Washington in recent years.

Last September, he was a speaker at a Patriot Prayer rally in Portland following the killing of Patriot Prayer member and friend Aaron "Jay" Danielson by a self-described anti-fascist in August.

Pappas was among some 300 people who forced their way into the Oregon state Capitol building in Salem on December 21 where state lawmakers were gathered for a special legislative session.  

The incident was declared an unlawful assembly by Oregon police and saw five other men arrested.

Oregon state Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, remains under criminal investigation by the Oregon State Police for his role in allegedly aiding the mob that day. He has since been stripped of his political privileges and has resisted calls to resign.

Images on social media, including one tweeted by Pappas, show him at the Capitol building brandishing a rifle and wearing a "Justice for Jay" hat that matches other images of him macing several police officers.

He was taken into custody on Jan. 5 on eight counts of assault, burglary, and criminal trespass, as first reported by South Salem High School's The Clypian. A grand jury later that month indicted him on all counts.

He saw release on Jan. 22 after his bail, set at $25,000, was paid for by far-right activist Andrew Duncomb who documented the invasion.

His request to relocate to Arizona drew objections from prosecutors, but did not dissuade Marion County Circuit Court Judge Courtland Geyer from granting it.

"I feel there is little left for me in Portland except trouble at this time, and I wish to avoid the potential for further problems," Pappas wrote in a signed declaration to the court.

Those objections were not in the court file due to an error, the Marion County District Attorney's office informed Oregon Public Broadcasting on Friday.

According to court documents, Pappas is currently restricted from possessing firearms, attending protests, or making contact with his alleged victims. He will not be monitored or required to communicate with the court while he is more than 1,400 miles away, however.

"AZ, here I come!" Pappas tweeted in response to Geyer's Thursday decision.

Pappas is due back in court for a hearing on April 29. His trial is not scheduled. He faces trial on July 13 for a separate count of second degree criminal mischief dating back to earlier in 2020.

Staff Reporter

Tim Gruver is a politics and public policy reporter. He is a University of Washington alum and the recipient of the 2017 Pioneer News Award for Reporting. His work has appeared in Politico, the Kitsap Daily News, and the Northwest Asian Weekly.