Democratic Party of Oregon Cancels Weekend Event, Fearing Disruption From Gaza Protesters

The party’s state central committee planned to meet in person but now will convene virtually.

All Out for Palestine rally at office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley. (Allison Barr)

The state central committee of the Democratic Party of Oregon abruptly canceled a meeting set for this weekend at the Beaverton Elks Lodge.

The DPO’s central committee makes important decisions for the party and was scheduled to approve the DPO’s 2024-25 budget at the meeting, along with holding a holiday party. But Thursday at 9 pm, DPO chair Dr. Rosa Colquitt emailed central committee members to let them know plans had changed.

“Unfortunately, I have made the difficult decision to cancel this Sunday’s SCC meeeting and our weekend activities,” Colquitt wrote. “We have received highly credible information that we cannot confidently hold safe and secure in-person DPO events and meetings this weekend.”

Instead, the committee will hold a special emergency meeting via Zoom on Dec. 2.

Colquitt’s email did not provide any explanation about the anticipated protests that required the shift.

In response to questions from WW, DPO executive director Brad Martin provided a statement, which, like Colquitt’s email, did not specify the issue they feared had catalyzed protesters.

“We heard from multiple sources about protests planned at DPO events this weekend,” Martin said. “The party has always supported the rights of individuals to peacefully protest, but we were not confident we could hold these events safely and securely for either DPO participants or protesters. While the decision was difficult, we chose this course to ensure the personal and physical safety and well-being of all.”

Although DPO officials declined to identify the cause of the disruption they fear, the issue that is animating Democrats nationally is the Israel-Hamas war. Earlier this week, protesters showed up outside a Democratic National Committee gathering in Washington, D.C., as they have done at Oregon congressional offices.

On Friday afternoon, Robin Lanehurst, a local activist, made it explicit.

“Democratic voters and allies will gather outside the Beaverton Elks Lodge to protest the Oregon Democratic Party’s continued silence on the genocide in Gaza,” Lanehurst said in a statement, adding that protesters would gather even though the in-person DPO meeting will not happen.

“Recent polling by Reuters shows that almost 75% of Democrats support calling a cease-fire in Gaza,” Lanehurst said. “Yet no Portland-area elected officials have joined this call, and neither has the Oregon Democratic Party as a whole.”

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