Portland ready for Pride Festival, despite possible threats from - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland ready for Pride Festival, despite possible threats from white supremacist groups

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KPTV photo. KPTV photo.
KPTV photo. KPTV photo.

Portland is gearing up for this weekend’s Pride Festival, where thousands of people will be in the downtown area and along the waterfront to celebrate.

But ahead of the event, there are some safety concerns.

Pride Northwest organizers say they’re watching reports that white supremacist groups are planning to target the festival.

While no specific threats have been made against a particular event, organizers say they are beefing up security.

“There’s nothing concrete, we can’t point at something and say 'at this time and date they’re going to do something,' that’s not how they operate,” Debra Porta, executive director of Pride Northwest, said.

Porta is encouraging participants to come out and have fun, but also to pay attention to their surroundings and watch out for each other.

“We [in the LGBTQ community] do things like plan ahead, traveling together and not being alone and knowing where we’re going and knowing who we can reach out to for help,” she said. “We prepare for the safety, but this is our weekend to celebrate our community, so that’s what we’re going to do.”

Some private business owners involved in the Pride Festival are spreading messages of caution on social media, encouraging people to walk in pairs and report any suspicious activity to police or security guards.

Portland Police say they’re aware of the community concern over potential disruptions, and while the bureau has not been able to verify any such plans, officers will be present at Pride events throughout the city.

Michael Rouse, the owner of Stag, a bar in northwest Portland, says he will have armed security guards at all entrances and exits as he hosts hundreds of people for a large weekend block party.

“It’s not the first time it’s happened and it probably won’t be the last,” Rouse said.

He and many others involved in the Pride Festival say they won’t let fear stop them from celebrating.

“Everybody should just get together and have a good time and let people live their lives the way they want to live them,” he said.

To learn more about the Pride Festival, visit www.pridenw.org.

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