About 300 Portlanders braved lashing rain and pelting hail Saturday to protest the presence of Adolf Hitler's ideological armies in Southwest Portland's Gabriel Park. The Nazis, however, never showed up.
A group known as the Tualatin Valley Skins had planned to rally in the 90-acre greenspace, before distributing hatemongering handbills among Portland's most heavily Jewish and Muslim neighborhoods.
According to TVS National Director Jim Ramm, the group postponed the much-publicized event after its website stopped working the same day WW published a news story about the group's plans ("Dreaming of a White New Year," WW, Dec. 29, 2004).
"Our pro-free-speech server decided they were anti- free-speech," says Ramm, who suspects someone complained about the content.
The website, decorated with photos of the Führer, contained racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic propaganda, as well as jokes, links, an "African-American owners manual" and of course, membership information. Without a functioning website, Ramm says, pamphleteering isn't nearly as effective.
"The whole point is to get the website URL out to the public," he explains. "If they are interested, children can then visit our 108 pages and 1,500-plus files on the Internet."
Protester Jordana Sardo, organizer of the Ad-Hoc Coalition Against the Tualatin Valley Skins, doesn't buy Ramm's explanation for the sparse supremacists.
"The whole rationale is pretty weak," says Sardo. "The fact is, there was a vast multi-ethnic opposition to their ideology."
Ramm, however, promises to get the troops out as soon as he gets the site back up. "Stay tuned next Saturday," he says.