'Anti-mask, anti-vax' protest in Eastmoreland
Several Eastmoreland neighbors who live along S.E. 32nd Avenue were surprised and bemused when a protest formed about 6 p.m., in the front of a home â€“ reported to be the residence of Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury â€“ on Friday evening, August 13.
Some 50 people were gathered in the area, on both sides of the street. At first, it was difficult to tell who the protesters were, and who held opposing views â€“ other than through sporadic verbal exchanges â€“ until a female protester used an amplified bullhorn to make clear her own views.
One of the protesters, Amanda Fisk, said she showed up after receiving an e-mail about the planned protest, and she agreed to speak with THE BEE. "I'm out here to protest the mask mandates, and the ordinance that [Chair Deborah Kafoury] passed that permits homeless people to camp beyond 10 feet of a person's home," she began.
When we asked why the topic on the poster she was carrying differed from her statement, she replied, "What we're all protesting, collectively, is us entering into a fascist state; our country is under siege. This includes demanding vaccinations, masking, social distancing. I don't believe that the virus is spread by asymptomatic people."
None of the neighbors who live on the block wanted to be quoted in THE BEE; but generally they agreed that this occurrence was unique and unexpected, and none said they felt endangered by the protestors.
Across the street from the protesters, a man engaged in exchanges with some of the demonstrators. When we inquired if he was a neighbor, he said his name was Damien Shows and that he actually lived in Woodstock â€“ eight blocks east of the protest.
"I do not like this being here, in a neighborhood where families with kids live," Shows said. "Especially because it has attracted the 'Proud Boys' and 'Patriot Prayer' groups, who promoted this event online â€“ I've been seeing them here this evening, in the area. These people are anti-science, anti-mask, and anti-vaccine â€“ abhorrent, in so many ways."
Although rumors flew that the protesters planned to set up a campground and spend the night on the parking strips nearby, most of the group had cleared out by 8:30 p.m. No injuries or property damage were reported and, as best we could determine, Chair Kafoury did not appear, and wasn't impacted by the disturbance that night.
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.