Portland Pride organizers issue statement on safety ahead of festival and parade
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - June is pride month, and Portland is gearing up for the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Pride parade this weekend.
Thousands of people are expected to attend, but safety is a top priority after an incident in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho last weekend, where over 30 members of the white nationalist organization, Patriot Front, were arrested for allegedly planning to start a riot at a local LGBTQ Pride event.
This prompted Pride Northwest, the group behind Portland’s Pride parade and festival, to issue a statement outlining safety efforts ahead of this weekend. The statement reads in part:
As is always the case, Pride Northwest works closely with the Portland Police Department, private security, de-escalation teams, and others to ensure that the Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade are as safe as humanly possible. We do this every year because, in all blunt honesty, the potential for any number of groups or people to attempt to harm our community is an ever-present reality, during Pride and otherwise. This year is no different. The primary impact of the incident in Idaho has been to increase the frequency of our communication with City bureaus including the Portland Police Department and, for the first time, to engage directly with the Bureau of Emergency Management. This increased communication and engagement allows us to coordinate contact across the weekend and ensure that should the need for some kind of response arise, we can do so as quickly and smoothly as possible. TO BE CLEAR, as of right now we have not been notified of any identified threat or increase in chatter among groups monitored for this kind of thing.
Debra Porta, Pride Northwest’s executive director, says it’s important for people in her position to speak out after incidents of targeted violence against the LGBTQ community.
“That that kind of stuff as intended makes our community nervous, and with Pride happening so quickly after that it becomes important to remind folks of the safety precautions that we already take, and to reassure our community that we’re paying attention,” Porta said.
C.C. Slaughers is a popular LGBTQ nightclub in Old Town. One of the bar’s managers says they’re increasing security for Pride weekend, which they do every year because of the large crowds.
“It’s important to look over the people within your club, of course there our guests, they’re our family, they’re our friends and their safety is our first concern always,” said manager Kevin Hutman. “But we as a community have to continue to keep our heads up, celebrate, not be deterred.”
Hutman says the recent events in Cour d’Alene are concerning, but adds Pride is all about taking a stand against this kind of hate.
“Pride will go on as it will next year, and the year after, and the year after that, and it will get bigger and better and more people will come to terms with the fact that we’re here and we’re not going away.”
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