FBI, police investigating threatening letter targeting NE Portla - KPTV - FOX 12

FBI, police investigating threatening letter targeting NE Portland neighborhood festival

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Letter sent to Good in the Hood festival president. (KPTV) Letter sent to Good in the Hood festival president. (KPTV)
Good in the Hood organization (KPTV) Good in the Hood organization (KPTV)

The FBI and Portland police are investigating after a threatening letter was sent to the president of a local neighborhood festival.

The letter, which was delivered Wednesday to a neighborhood coalition office, was specifically addressed to Shawn Penney and showed a photo of KKK members on the front of the envelope.

Inside was a letter laced with the n-word and threats of violence.

It said people would die at the “Good in the Hood Festival” in northeast Portland later this month and specifically targeted Penny, the festival president.

“The threat was made specifically to me and my family and kids, using my name, and it was a threat to my community and people of color,” Penney told FOX 12. “It took me back because we have been struggling for a long time, since my grandparents moved from the south to come up to the west for better education and better jobs. It was just very frustrating, the words that were used, it was very detailed.”

This is the 25th year of the “Good in the Hood Festival,” a multi-cultural celebration focused on uniting the community. It features a parade, live music, food vendors and performances while raising $10,000 for college scholarships. This year, there will also be a three-on-three basketball tournament and other events over a three-day period from June 23rd-25th in Lillis Albina Park.

Penney expects 20,000 people to attend.

“It’s a frightening letter, it had me shook. I got a little sleep last night, I thought about it all night,” he said. “But my gut feeling was telling me we’re not going to cancel the festival because that’s what the person wants us to do. If we cancel it, they win.”

If anything, Penney said the letter backfired.

Rather than spreading hate and fear, he said he’s heard from dozens of people rallying behind him and the festival in support.

He said he’s not canceling a thing.

“I just want to let everyone know the festival will still go on,” he affirmed. “We will rise, we will stand together as one and we will move forward.”

To learn more about the festival, go to goodnthehood.org.

The FBI and Portland Police Bureau are working to determine whether the threats are credible, and they’re asking anyone with information to give them a call. You can contact the FBI at 503-224-4181 or contact Portland Police Detective Jeff Sharp at 503-823-9770 or jeff.sharp@portlandoregon.gov. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can report information to Crime Stoppers of Oregon by calling 503-823-HELP.

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