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LCSO Sgt. Scott Denham cautions parade participants regarding safety codes; horses, a bicyclist, pedestrians, and cars and trucks made for a congested intersection

CRESWELL – Police in Creswell say that the unauthorized parade in the early afternoon on July 4 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 homemade trucks and flags. 

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. 

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.

Denham said the police intend to fine about a half a dozen participants and organizers, ranging from $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 warned parade participants about throwing candy out their windows, and cautioned they would be cited for reckless endangerment if they did not stop.

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The driver of a truck that carried a Proud Boys flag down Oregon Ave.

“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.” 

Both the parade and the event on Cloverdale Road had 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 flags, and making affiliated hand gestures to parade-goers. 

By mid-afternoon, the rally on Cloverdale Road appeared to number less than 200. Guest speakers and live music took place at the rally.

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Chris Tough of Cottage Grove, one of the parade's organizers, during the parade.

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. TJ’s and Tractor Supply parking lots were empty on July Fourth.

The event was advertised for more than a month as the “largest ‘patriot’ gathering in Oregon” and welcomed “everyone.” A photographer was told at the event that the media was 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. 

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. 

There were no calls involving the event on Cloverdale, Denham said on Tuesday, and noted that the event was not responsible for the fire at Cloverdale and Sears in the greenway pull out. “They had a water truck out at the site and took it over to start putting water on it until the fire department could arrive,” Denham said.  

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A local resident is ready for the holiday festivities.

“All of our main office deputies, command staff, and detectives ended up working during the parade and most of the day on the shooting death out at Little Fall Creek, so we would not have had much backup had we caused a ruckus,” Denham said.

The Proud Boys’ presence brought national attention to Creswell. Newsweek Magazine was among publications and regional TV stations who took an interest in the controversy.