Keizer Station businesses close, board windows in fear rally could draw protesters, clashes

Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 6:21 PM PDT
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KEIZER, Ore. (KPTV) - Several businesses in the Keizer Station shopping plaza closed Friday and Saturday, some even boarding up their storefronts, in fear that a far-right rally and conference at the nearby Volcanoes Stadium could draw protesters and clashes.

About 50 protesters showed up on Friday for a few hours to wave flags and hold signs but the event was peaceful with few, if any confrontations.

Thousands attended the first day of the “Reawaken America Tour” conference and rally, where speakers from former President Trump’s inner circle were scheduled to speak.

A speaker’s list posted online said Trump’s son, Eric Trump, his former national security advisor Michael Flynn and Roger Stone were among speakers. Flynn and Stone were both convicted of crimes related to their work and dealings with Trump but then pardoned by the former president.

Salem resident Delia Lalonde said she couldn’t get tickets for the sold-out conference, but she drove up to Keizer with her sister anyway.

“We wanted to enjoy the people who are coming and going,” Lalonde said.

With worry that there could be clashes among attendees and protestors, Keizer police officers were in nearby lots and streets. They teamed up with Salem police and state troopers.

“There’s a lot of police from different agencies and some are bicycles, some on motorcycles and of course some with their patrol cars,” Lalonde said.

EZ Freezy Owner Issam Khoury said he felt safe enough to keep his frozen yogurt shop open nearby. He hopes the extra foot traffic for the rally will be good for business.

“A good sales day is important for us today,” Khoury said. “I’m just a businessman trying to survive. I don’t get involved in politics.”

Businesses that closed included a GNC, OSU Beaver Store, Kay Jewelers and Target, among several others.

Kay Jewelers boarded up its windows and Target used carts to stack and line its doorways as a barricade.

A Target spokesman sent FOX 12 a statement on the closure:

Keizer police told FOX 12 that nobody in their department advised any businesses to close for the rally.

The police department said it brought in extra patrols for the event to make sure that people and businesses stayed safe and to protect free speech of attendees and protesters.