COTTAGE GROVE – The Bohemia Mining Days’ two-day festival and parades will continue without interruption, president Don Williams said Friday morning, after members of the Proud Boys extremist group said they would not try to participate in events.
On Thursday, Williams told The Chronicle that BMD’s parade chairman told him an application was made for the Proud Boys to drive a pickup with two U.S. flags during the parade. Friday, Williams said he misspoke, and that no application had ever been made. Thursday, Williams said the BMD board would be meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall to discuss the application.
Friday, he said members of the Proud Boys told BMD officials late Thursday afternoon they had decided to not apply for the parade in light of public outcry – the BMD board received 40-55 emails/letters, phone calls, and social media posts demanding boycotts of parade sponsors and participants.
“There was a great deal of misinformation and speculation all around,” Williams said. “A very unfortunate set of circumstances. Hopefully, we can get back to being halfway normal, and have a celebration.”
The Anti-Defamation League defines the Proud Boys as “misogynistic, Islamophobic, transphobic and anti-immigration. Some members espouse white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideologies and/or engage with white supremacist groups.”
The potential presence of the group – labeled a terrorist organization by the Canadian government and identified by the FBI as organizers and participants of the Jan. 6 insurrection on the Nation’s Capitol – raised concerns following its presence in a permit-less July 4 parade in Creswell, and the far-right rally it held just outside the city limits on the holiday.