Venture Portland–the event organizers–declined to talk on camera, but told KATU in a prepared statement quote:
“Following threats of violence during the parade by multiple groups planning to demonstrate at the event, we can no longer guarantee the safety of our community.”
The threat of violence originated on Saturday, when Venture Portland received an email from a “Rise Up” resistance group.
A link in the email led to an event created by the Direct Action Alliance, a locally-known anti-fascist group, that’s caused violence at past events like a President Trump rally in Vancouver last month.
The group gave organizers an ultimatum.
Let the Multnomah County Republican Party participate and quote: “We will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push those people out.”
Jefrey Reynolds with the Multnomah County Republican Party told KATU, “They said that we would be removed forcibly… dragged from the streets. I saw threats of being stabbed, other people being choked out.”
Reynolds is the house district captain of the Multnomah-County Republican Party.
He says the party participated without problems in the parade for the last three years. “We have the right to free assembly, we have the right to free speech and they are forcibly threatening us with terroristic activities.”
The 82nd Avenue of the Roses Parade is a Portland Rose Festival Foundation sanctioned event.
The foundation told us they only promote and support Venture Portland staff, and that Venture Portland decides who can participate, and who can’t.