Police stop parade participants from throwing candy on Oregon Avenue. PHOTO: Bob Williams
CRESWELL – Red, white and phew!
Police in Creswell say that the unpermitted parade in the early afternoon was kept under control and did not cause egregious public safety concerns.
Starting at the former Foster Farms chicken processing plant on Harvey Road, parade participants traveled what is considered the “traditional route” onto Oregon Avenue. The parade included floats pulled by trucks, teams of lawn mower and tractor drivers, and a mix of classic cars and home-made trucks and flags.
Festive parade participants at the rogue Creswell July Fourth parade. PHOTO: Bob Williams
It was a bit chaotic, too. Without any permitting, the parade route was not blocked off, causing traffic congestion on intersecting streets. When the parade, which included horses, reached Oregon Avenue and Front Street, it turned north, blocking traffic from turning south on Highway 99 or continuing west down Oregon Avenue.
Horses on Oregon Avenue during a makeshift July Fourth parade. PHOTO: Bob Williams
Big machinery on Oregon Avenue. PHOTO: Bob Williams
Citations have not yet been issued, but police said those are coming.
“We made the decision not to issue (citations) today during the parade because it's not safe for police to start pulling over people and give citations out in the middle of a big crowd that is 95% positive towards the event. All of those citations will be handed out within the next week or so,” Lane County Sheriff Sgt. Scott Denham said.
Traffic congestion on intersections during the parade. EMMA ROUTLEY/The Chronicle
Denham said the police intend to fine about a half a dozen participants and organizers, ranging from a $2,500 to a $50 citation. Police cannot issue citations for a violation unless it occurs in front of them or unless a crash was involved, Denham said.
Denham stopped parade participants from throwing candy out their windows, and warned they would be cited for reckless endangerment if they did not stop.
“There’s kids running out in the middle of the road in the middle of the day; we did not shut down traffic, so traffic was flowing both directions on city streets. Throwing candy – while there's traffic going in different directions – is an extremely reckless endangering type of issue.”
Participants hand out candy to children watching the parade. PHOTO: Bob Williams
Both the parade and the event on Cloverdale Road have some connections to the Proud Boys, the far-right extremist group whose members were responsible in part for the domestic terrorist attack at the Nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6. Group members were seen waving their flags, and making affiliated hand gestures to parade-goers.
Proud Boys came to Creswell for July 4. PHOTO: Bob Williams
By mid-afternoon, the rally crowd appeared to number in the low hundreds.
A field near mile marker six was used in lieu of using TJ’s Restaurant or the Tractor Supply Co. locations, after business owners denied the group access to either property for this event. Guest speakers and live music were scheduled.
The event is being advertised as the “largest ‘patriot’ gathering in Oregon,” and event organizers said that the press is not welcome. ”If anyone sees the press, you tell a Proud Boy because we don’t want them here,” one person said to a photographer at the event.
Scenes from Cloverdale Road.
Scenes from Cloverdale Road.
The stage on Cloverdale Road.
As far as police are concerned, “The event is out of the city limits, so we have no control over it unless it becomes some type of fire danger situation, or becomes an unruly, loud party,” Denham said. “I don't know how the county land management is going to treat that; the property owner may end up getting a hefty fine from land management. If there's alcohol flowing (on Cloverdale) that is being provided by the event host, then OLCC can go after him. But other than that, we're, we're tied up in other things that happen normally on the Fourth of July … we are short staffed.”
The Creswell Chamber fireworks display is still a go tonight, said Bobby Langley, chamber president. Volunteers were at the Bald Knob site for four hours today to water down the fall out area for the fireworks. There is no designated parking for the fireworks but people can scope out their own spots, he said.
Fireworks start at dark.
More photos of the day's events at The Chronicle on Facebook.
A parade go-er enjoying the afternoon. PHOTO: Bob Williams