COTTAGE GROVE – Organizers of the annual Bohemia Mining Days have battled the odds through the pandemic the past year and a half, canceling the 2020 festival and scheduling a two-day event this year. And as southern Lane County emerges from the pandemic, they face one last hurdle.
The Proud Boys, an extremist group whose members were cited for their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, has submitted an application to participate in the BMD parade on Sunday, July 18. The application is for a pickup and two U.S. flags on it.
The BMD board is scheduled to meet at City Hall on Thursday, July 8, at 6 p.m. and the parade application will be on the agenda for discussion, said Don Williams, BMD board president.
"We have a board meeting scheduled for tomorrow night to make a decision on whether or not to allow controversial organization to participate in our parade," the organization's online post reads. "We will issue a press release once the board reaches a decision and explain our reasons for that decision.
“My personal feeling is I’m against it,” Williams said Wednesday afternoon. “My position is we’ll deny the application. I can’t speak for others on the board.”
Williams said he first heard of the application on Monday. The Proud Boys participated in a permitless parade in Creswell on July 4. The group was seen waving their flag and making white power hand gestures. One of the Creswell parade organizers, Chris Tough of Cottage Grove, walked along the parade route with a bullhorn, and invited parade watchers to attend a rally on Cloverdale Road. The rally didn’t appear to have more than 200-300 people at its peak.
"The BMD 2021 production team has worked tirelessly since last year to give our community a much needed and much anticipated Hometown celebration," the post reads. "We do not want this political controversy to overshadow our family friendly small town atmosphere."
A spokesperson at City Hall said the City has no role in the decision because BMD is an independent organization.
The meeting is a private organization board meeting and is not open to the public.