Three days ahead of Saturday's planned Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer rally in North Portland's Delta Park, the Oregon Legislature's Black, Indigenous and People of Color Caucus called for calm and urged counterprotesters to stay away from the main demonstration.
"The leaders of this hateful demonstration have clearly stated their intention is to damage our community and intimidate our fellow community members," the lawmakers said in a statement Wednesday. "These hate groups are not welcome here. We must show them that the violence and hate they wish to bring to our streets is unacceptable."
They wrote that the groups who organize these rallies are often regularly armed and arrive with an intent to commit violence. During a similar Aug. 22 rally in downtown Portland, far-right protesters sprayed the crowd with bear mace. One man was spotted waiving a loaded handgun. Meanwhile, Portland police stood by, saying later that it would have exacerbated the situation if they intervened.
A week later, after a truck caravan supporting President Trump rolled through downtown Portland, a self-proclaimed anti-fascist fatally shot a Patriot Prayer supporter.
The Proud Boys rally is in part a response to that killing. Leftist organizers plan a Sept. 26 counterprotest, in Peninsula Park, 3 miles away.
The People of Color Caucus, made up of nine Oregon lawmakers, urged people who plan to counterprotest the Sept. 26 event to stay away from the main demonstration.
"Let's not empower them with our presence," the lawmakers wrote. "The Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer are here to bring violence and spread hate. But we know their agenda and our community will not stand for violence or hate. We will not be intimidated or silenced, but we also will not allow these individuals to sow the chaos and destruction they so desperately seek."