In the early afternoon on a steamy June 18, a few skateboard-toting teens watched eagerly from the edge of Clackamette Park in Oregon City as anti-fascists and Proud Boys squared off along the picnic tables. “You think they’re going to fight?” one kid asked another.
Shortly before 4 pm, a leftist protester set an American flag alight, prompting a group of Proud Boys to rush forward in an attempt to retrieve the burning flag, sparking a swift and brutal melee.
The two sides attacked each other with bats, shields and an enormous amount of mace.
Such battles are a repeated feature of life in Portland and Salem, but the conflict in Clackamas County suggested that such dueling protests have reached the Oregon suburbs.
Police ordered confused parkgoers to leave. “I honestly think both sides have mental health issues,” remarked one father visiting with his children from Ohio.