Saturday Rose Festival-sanctioned event canceled because of demonstration threat
The annual 82nd Avenue Rose Parade and Carnival scheduled for Saturday have been canceled because of threats against the Multnomah County Republican Party, a longtime participant in the parade.
In a Tuesday afternoon email, the 82 Avenue Business Association, which sponsors the Rose Festival-sanctioned event, said it canceled the entire event because could not guarantee the safety of the community.
"We are deeply disappointed that the agendas of these outside groups have so regrettably impacted our community," said the email press release.
"This is shameful. This volunteer-driven event highlights the progress being made in East Portland. The losers are the working families in East Portland who enjoy the parade and carnival," says Commissioner Nick Fish, the liaison to Venture Portland, the organization of neighborhood associations that helps organize the event.
"We are very saddened by this. It's very sad that this would happen to an innocent neighborhood event like this," says Rose Festival spokesman Rick Jarvis.
The email did not detail the threat, and the Portland Tribune could not immediately reach the association for comment. But KOIN 6 News reported the event was canceled "after Direct Action Alliance created a Facebook event called 'Defend Portland from Fascists at the Avenue of Roses Parade.'" The group wanted to disrupt the march because of 'Nazis and fascists' participating."
"The fascists know that we'll keep shutting their marches down," the Facebook posting states. "They are now planning to march within other parades to protect their message of hate and white supremacy — it won't work."
In a separate Tuesday email, the Multnomah County Republican Party said the threat related to its participation in the parade. According to the party's email, parade organizers had received an email threat warning from "anarchists" that said unless their registration is revoked, "two hundred or more people [will] rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push those people out."
"The road to fascism begins with armed gangs of thugs using violence to shut down opposing points of view. The question now is whether the City of Portland will be complicit in such conduct. We hope the City's new leadership has the courage to respond to these threats appropriately," said MCRP Chair James Buchal, who noted the party had participated in the parade for years.
According to the party, the threatening email also says, "You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us."
The email came from riseup.net. An anonymous reply to a Portland Tribune request for comment said the threat of violence came from Facebook postings by Republican Party supporters in response to the demonstration announcement.
"These people are not good they are right wing extremists and they are dangerous and that is why they deserve absolutely no space at a family friendly event," the reply said.
An April 23 posting by someone calling himself Johnny Beaver called on people to come to defend the event, saying, "I'm asking for as many BRAVE AMERICANS to help stomp out these domestic terrorists that threaten our freedoms as AMERICANS."
Jeff Reynolds of the Multnomah County Republican Party says the outside groups were not invited to participate in the parade but only surfaced after the threats were made to disrupt it.
KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Portland Tribune and contributed to this story.