Downtown Portland bar Kells Irish Pub has announced that it is canceling its annual Summer Smoker boxing match planned for this weekend to avoid a clash between right-wing group the Proud Boys and anti-fascist counter-protesters.
Kells is the second business to alter an event due to safety concerns surrounding the Aug. 17 protest. Last week, the Portland Thorns waterfront run was relocated across the Willamette River.
Kells—which also has locations in Seattle and San Francisco, plus a brewpub in Northwest Portland—is located at 112 SW 2nd Ave., about two blocks from Waterfront Park, the site of a rally organized by a right-wing Florida talk radio host who seeks to outlaw antifascist demonstrators.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw have warned the city is prepared to meet violent protesters with a strong show of police force.
The "Havana Nights"-themed Summer Smoker advertised live boxing, cigar smoking and a buffet of cuban food. Ringside tables went for $2,400. The event has not been rescheduled, but ticket-holders will receive refunds.
Kells' owner Gerard McAleese decided to cancel the event to ensure the safety of the roughly 500 expected spectators.
"After much thought and discussion, we have decided to cancel this Saturday's Smoker event,"McAleese said in a statement today. "Rival protest demonstrations scheduled to take place on the nearby Waterfront have given us cause for concern. Our overarching interest is for the welfare and safety of our staff and customers, as well as the safety of Portland citizens and visitors."
He continued: "As an American citizen who emigrated from Northern Ireland, I'd like to go on record as stating that violence and chaos are not the answer; unity and peace are the answer."