Molalla man arrested at 'stop the steal' rally at Oregon Capitol
A Molalla man was among four people arrested at a "stop the steal" rally at the Oregon State Capitol Friday, Nov. 7 amid the wait for election results.
Nathan Arnett, 29, of Molalla, was the first arrested Friday on charges of assault and unlawful use of tear gas.
Later, Jeffrey Mustin of Eugene was arrested for assault and unlawful possession of a firearm, Ryan Swanzey of Portland was arrested for disorderly conduct and offensive littering, and Jesse Baughman of Salem was arrested for disorderly conduct and interfering with police.
The rallies began around noon Friday and reconvened Saturday.
Electoral overtime ended just after 8 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, spurring some Portlanders to dance in the streets at the prospect of a Biden presidency. But at the State Capitol in Salem, several hundred Oregon Republicans gathered for a "stop the steal" rally that deemed the results illegitimate.
Ty Jones held a placard with pictures of former Vice President and now President-elect Joe Biden superimposed over images of Swiper, a sticky-fingered character from the children's show "Dora the Explorer."
"What I would like to see, in my opinion: shred the ballots, destroy the mail-in ballot system, go back to the physically drop your ballot into a ballot box," said Jones. The Dallas resident said he supported outgoing President Donald Trump because "he can't be bought off — he has too much money."
A â€œstop the stealâ€ rally is being held in Salem at the Oregon State Capitol to protest the results of the election today pic.twitter.com/HVLot4I0qR— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) November 7, 2020
Rumors of voter fraud or other malfeasance have flown far faster this election cycle than fact checkers can stomp them out, but many allegations have already been quashed. Claims of dead voters in Michigan, for instance, were debunked by a a New York Times investigation that found simple database errors, such as incorrectly listed birth dates, or living voters with the same name as deceased persons.
Oregon had its own scare after 4chan users falsely claimed that Oregon's Secretary of State website includes a hackable "online voting system." In reality, there is no way to vote electronically in Oregon.
Not everyone is convinced, however.
"If Biden wins, hey, I'll support him — if he's elected fairly and I don't think we've had a fair election right now," said a 76-year-old Eugene resident who declined to give his name. "I have ancestors who came across in the covered wagons ... they'd be coming up out of their graves."
Spatters of rain put a damper on the event, with the right-wing crowd dwindling as night fell. Meanwhile, several hundred left-wing protesters gathered less than a mile away at Pringle Park before marching toward the Capitol rotunda. Salem Police clad in riot gear blocked streets until the crowd moved back onto the sidewalk, and later the police used their bodies as barricades to keep the two groups separated.
Officers pushed the crowd back after someone slashed the tire of a conservative rallygoer's truck, and the dispersal resulted in the arrests.
Kristen Wohlers contributed to this story.
Follow me on Twitter
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.