The City of Portland denied the right-wing Proud Boys group a permit to protest at Delta Park on Saturday, citing coronavirus restrictions — However, the city has failed to halt the nightly Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests that continue to grip the city.
This week, the city formally denied the group, a right-wing fraternal organization founded by political commentator and Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, a permit to gather at Delta Park.
In 2018, the Guardian reported that the FBI classified the Proud Boys as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism.” McInnes, who has since disassociated with the group, once said his primary focus remained on preserving “Western values,” distancing himself from the “alt-right.” Members of the group describe themselves as proud “Western chauvinists.” The far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has categorized the organization as a hate group.
Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) did not mince words, referring to the group as “agitators” who planned to come to the city to “spread messages of hate and racism — values we don’t welcome here in Portland.”
“If you intend to come to our city, our home, to spread hate and provoke violence, don’t,” he added:
On September 26th, agitators plan on coming to Portland to spread messages of hate and racism– values we don’t welcome here in Portland. If you intend to come to our city, our home, to spread hate and provoke violence, don’t.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) September 23, 2020
However, Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz attributed the decision, specifically, to coronavirus restrictions — despite rioters violating those same restrictions nearly every night for weeks on end.
“The described event is not compliant with Oregon Health Authority guidelines about the number of people allowed in gatherings and cannot be conducted in a manner consistent with physical distancing guidance from public health officials,” she said in a statement.
“We must all do our part to fight the spread of [Chinese coronavirus] in our community and keep ourselves and each other safe. Events like this are not welcome and not allowed,” she added.
A Multnomah County guidance, last updated August 12, cites the statewide guidance on social gatherings, limiting them to 50 people or fewer. Only Phase Two counties are permitted to increase capacity to 100 people for outdoor gatherings, although Multnomah County does not yet qualify.
Meanwhile, Portland Police responded to yet another “mass gathering” in the city Thursday night, as members of the group set fires and vandalized property, prompting police to declare a riot. Notably, city officials have done very little to put a stop to the violent riots and their non-compliance with Oregon Health Authority guidelines.
Like Wheeler, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) has directed the bulk of her concern to “right-wing vigilantes” and “armed white supremacists” rather than the violent BLM and Antifa agitators who continue to inflict carnage on cities such as Portland.
“The right-wing group Patriot Prayer and self-proclaimed militia members drove into downtown Portland last night, armed and looking for a fight. Every Oregonian has the right to freely express their views without fear of deadly violence,” Brown said following the fatal shooting of Aaron “Jay” Danielson, who was wearing a Patriot Prayer hat in the city the night of the incident, which occurred in August.
An eyewitness of the shooting said they were “hunted” down, identified by their Patriot Prayer hats.
“Turn over and Jay’s dead because he believes something different than them. Jay’s not a racist. He’s not a xenophobe or whatever label. He’s not an ‘ist’ or an ‘ism,’” he said, describing Danielson as a “good man” who “didn’t do anything to earn a bullet in the chest.”
Nonetheless, the governor blamed “armed right-wing vigilantes” and for the escalation of violence in the city.
Brown added that they will “not allow Patriot Prayer and armed white supremacists to bring more bloodshed to our streets.”