“We’re asking our elected officials to mind their money. We don’t get into a lot of social issues,” said 38-year-old Aaron Stevens, a volunteer coordinator for the tea party event. "We're trying to bring attention to our cause and this is a great place for people to come and meet like-minded folk."“We need to deal with entitlement programs,” said Diane Schendel, member of conservative groups, Oregon 9-12 Project and Americans for Prosperity. “We need to get the government the hell out of the way. There are too many regulations and there are too many taxes.”
Oregon tea partiers huddled under umbrellas as rain pounded down throughout the evening. At 6:30 pm when the event officially got under way, the crowd stood and sang the national anthem led by former Miss Oregon Heidi Rickey-Wiesner.
Not all who showed up however, were in
A crowd of about 30 demonstrators gathered at
the top of the steps leading down to the square. They carried anti-tea party signs
and blew air horns during the national anthem.
One sign read “Tea Party Go Home." Another read “Tea Party No Bright Ideas From Dimwits.”
Some tea party members grew furious
and confronted the counter-demonstrators.
“You guys are Nazis,” yelled one irate tea party supporter, prompting one of the tea party opponents to repeatedly scream “Fascist!” Police formed a barricade with bikes to keep the groups separate.
Eventually, calm retutned and attention returned to the stage.
“When liberals don’t like something they try to ban it,” Taft said from the stage. “You know what conservatives do when they don’t like something? They change it!” The crowd erupted into a roar and supporters cheered wildly.
By 8:30 pm the rally was over. Soaked from head to toe, they trudged back to their cars to head home.
“We are a tolerant party,” said Stevens. “You will not see anybody with anti-gay or Nazi signs here. We are about fiscal responsibility.”A very different rally is happening at the square today. Check back later for a report on that demonstration in support of unions.