Annoyed by the cancellation of the 82nd Avenue of Roses parade, some members of the East Portland community are planning a party in the park anyway.
Dozens of Portlanders have RSVP'd for a community picnic at Montavilla Park on Northeast Glisan Street at 82nd Ave. tomorrow morning, April 29th, 9 am. "We would love to see all of the people that were going to participate in the parade show up to the park and be ready to perform," the picnic organizers write.
The picnickers will not have the park to themselves. A right-wing group from Vancouver called Patriot Prayer, whose leader, Joey Gibson, has traveled to scrap with leftist activists as far away as Berkeley, California, plans to bring dozens of supporters. Gibson said on his YouTube channel that his group also plans march down 82nd Ave. along the route of the canceled parade. Their foil, the masked leftists known as Portland antifa, or anti-fascists, are expected to show up to confront them.
"We are aware of potential events on Saturday as well and I don't have any information about permits being filed for anything," Portland Police Bureau spokesman Pete Simpson tells WW. "We'll likely have a presence consistent with the need to provide public safety on Saturday."
The picnic organizers are urging obliviousness toward any agitators. "Bring your best Portland-weird costume, food to share, hula hoops, outdoor games and dancing feet! Together we will stomp out hate, build community and break bread," one of two Facebook pages set up for the picnic says. "Multnomah County Republican Party and Patriot Prayer plan on showing up to march around the park. We ask that people do not respond to attempts to instigate. They are hateful bigots and our community will not sink to their levels, we will rise above!"
Multnomah County Republican Party chairman James Buchal previously told WW he will not be attending Gibson's "March for Free Speech" and neither invited nor condoned any extremists, such as the confrontational Bible Believers, to march with the GOP contingent in the original parade. However, other local Republican organizers do plan to march with Gibson tomorrow.
Two left-wing activist groups that planned to protest the GOP presence at the parade, Oregon Students Empowered and Direct Action Alliance, both quickly disavowed the anonymous threatening email that was sent to parade organizers last Saturday, which precipitated a chain of events that led to the 82nd Avenue Business Association's decision on Tuesday to cancel the parade. National media reports have incorrectly asserted that the public plans for peaceful protests at the parade sparked the cancellation.