Proud Boys, antifa groups gather at Oregon City flag wave
Only ideologies clashed as police kept dueling protest groups separate during a right-wing demonstration along a seven-lane stretch of Highway 213 in Oregon City.
Roughly 200 people, some wearing the trademark black-and-yellow colors of the Proud Boys, waved flags along the grassy embankment of Highway 213 near South Beavercreek Road on Friday, May 21. Some wore body armor and rifles strapped to their chests.
Flag festooned trucks filled the parking lot of a nearby gym and grocery store, though commerce was not disrupted and nearby drive-thru restaurants kept up a brisk business.
A week earlier, a left-wing band — organized under the banner Fascist Free 503 — announced plans to meet at the adjacent Clackamas Community College campus, saying in a social media flyer that "Oregon City is allowing fascists to continue and grow their weekly flag wave, if we don't put a stop to it they will command more control!"
In response, CCC administrators shuttered the campus and canceled all classes Friday. Local police and College Safety patrol cars blocked off entrances to the campus, allowing only minimal traffic on a nearby walking trail that skirted school property.
A crowd of 100s, some in Proud Boy outfits with body armor and rifles, are at a flag wave in Oregon City today near Portland pic.twitter.com/iAUCv0KDa5— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) May 22, 2021
"We're just trying to make sure the opposing groups try to stay separated," said one officer.
The counter-protest ended up gathering at a nearby shopping plaza off Molalla Avenue about one mile away. The left-wing group dispersed without confronting the flag wavers, with one independent reporter describing their numbers as "small" and largely boxed in by police who filmed them.
Meanwhile, one vendor at the flag wave was selling knives, brass knuckles and even a "powerful mini crossbow." A man wearing a shirt reading "PDX Proud Boys" was told a baton and matching sheath could be his for just $25. Proud Boy leadership asserted that they do not usually appear at the flag wave event, which has been occurring regularly for some time, but said reports of a counter-protest spurred their attendance.
A man identifying himself as Paul said it was his first time attending the Oregon City flag wave. He said he grew up in eastern Clackamas County and had lived in many Portland neighborhoods before being priced out and returning to the suburbs.
"The people you call antifa," the 42-year-old said, "they have no idea what Portland is. They watched Portlandia and came here. They're hipsters wearing all black. Hot Topic anarchists."
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