The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) is gearing up for a predictably volatile August 17 visit by the Proud Boys—a national alt-right organization rooted in male chauvinism and white nationalism.
In a press alert sent Friday morning, PPB said that no organization that plans on rallying that day (anti-fascist group PopMob has also scheduled a counter-protest) has applied for an official permit to hold an event in downtown Portland.
But, PPB writes: "Based on publicly-available information, the Bureau is concerned events on August 17 may involve persons interested in participating in criminal activity."
In the past, alt-right rallies in downtown Portland have been organized by our local arm of right-wing extremists, Patriot Prayer. But this upcoming event is hosted by Joe Biggs, a Florida-based member of the Proud Boys, who boasts a loyal fanbase of right-wing provocateurs.
Biggs is a former contributor to InfoWars, Alex Jones' right-wing conspiracy website, and has made appearances at several Proud Boy protests in the past. He's framed this event as a response to violence that broke out during Portland's last clash between the alt-right and anti-fascist (antifa) groups on June 29.
"We want to put an end to domestic terrorism," reads Biggs' Facebook event page. "We have had enough. It's time to just say, no. [Mayor] Ted Wheeler and PPB put out a statement saying they will START doing their jobs(when did they stop?). Well then we are going to put that statement to the test."
PopMob, meanwhile, is planning an event called "The Spectacle," where they've asked Portlanders to "come out with the biggest, weirdest, most spectacular costumes, performances, and other fun activities" in hopes of out-weirding the Proud Boys. "Let's show them we won't let them scare us into hiding our true selves," reads PopMob's event page.
Both events will take place at the Tom McCall Waterfront Plaza.
PPB is preparing for the worst.
"There is concern about the criminal intentions being expressed in the publicly available forums which suggest some attendees plan to engage in violence," says PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw in the press release. "We are taking this into account and developing an appropriate plan with adequate resources to prepare for this eventuality.... We will also be doing outreach to provide information to local businesses, residents, and visitors so they will know what to expect and the likely areas to be impacted."