Hate group rally expected on Capitol grounds Saturday
On Saturday, Feb. 27, members of the far-right hate group Proud Boys are expected to hold a rally at the Oregon State Capitol. The rally will be centered at the corner of Cottage and Court streets, and is expected to begin at 1 p.m., though attendees may arrive hours in advance. In an email to the student body at 1:31 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26, Director of Campus Safety Ross Stout advised students to stay away from the rally and other large gatherings due to the continued risk from COVID-19 and the Proud Boys’ history of violence. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) [classifies] the Proud Boys as a hate group, known for their white nationalist, “Western chauvinist” beliefs and for participating in violence at rallies, including the “Unite the Right'' rally in Charlottesville, North Carolina where Heather Heyer was struck and killed and others were injured when a car drove into a crowd of peaceful counter protestors. Proud Boys were involved in previous violent rallies at the Oregon Capitol, [including one] on Jan. 1, 2021 in which three far-right demonstrators were arrested. A Proud Boys member who led several rallies in Portland in 2020 was [arrested] following his participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol. Proud Boys were also involved in a [similar incident] at the Oregon State Capitol on Dec. 2020, when a right-wing anti-mask rally devolved into an attempt to storm the capitol building and interrupt an ongoing legislative session. The SPLC identifies the Proud Boys as “one of a handful of far-right groups instrumental in instigating violence and civil unrest in the Pacific Northwest” throughout 2019 and 2020.
Open carry of firearms on public property is allowed under Oregon law. However, weapons of any kind are not allowed on the Willamette campus. While Stout encouraged students to stay away from the rally, if students observe someone with a weapon on campus, they should keep their distance and call Campus Security at 503-370-6911.