PORTLAND, Ore. -- Organizers of Good in the Hood, an annual multi-cultural festival in North Portland, got word of a second threat Friday afternoon, hours ahead of the event’s kick-off at Lillis-Albina Park.
Police said shortly afterward the threat did not appear to be credible and the community is not in danger.
Shawn Penney, president of the nonprofit that organizes the event, said a staff member at Harriet Tubman Leadership Academy received a phone call just before 3 p.m.
Penney said the caller asked if the festival was still going on.
When the staff member said it was, Penney said the caller responded “Good. We’re going to come shoot all those n******.”
“My heart just sunk,” he said.
Earlier in the day, volunteers and staff were on hand hanging banners and putting up tents at the park.
They did so under the watchful eye of armed security guards, who were standing by at the festival’s only entrance. Penney said attendees could expect to be searched there.
The increased measures were a first for the 25-year-old festival.
“If you like it or not, there's always going to be people of color in North and Northeast Portland,” he said. “I'm still a little nervous about things, about how detailed the letter was…We're not going to back down.”
The increased security was put into place after organizers, earlier this month, received a letter, promising “a blood bath” at the event.
The letter's author wrote, “N****** WILL DIE AT THIS SO CALLED GOOD IN THE HOOD!!!!!”
The author went on to name board president Penney, writing that he needs to keep his mouth shut, “BEFORE MY THIRTY OTT SIX DOES IT FOR HIM.”
The author later noted he was part of a group watching the Penney's family.
The letter continued, “THIS IS MY FREEDOM OF SPEECH! WE THE WHITE KKK NOW OWN THE NORTH AND NORTHEAST PORTLAND!”
The body of the letter ended with “THE GOOD IN THE HOOD WILL NOT HAPPEN UNLESS YOU WANT TO SEE A BLOOD BATH!!!!!”
Portland police, in conjunction with the FBI, are investigating both threats. Sgt. Pete Simpson released the following statement Friday afternoon:
We are actively investigating a phone threat but after preliminary investigation, we do not believe the threat to be credible whatsoever. North Precinct and detectives are following up and officers are already at the park for planned events.
We believe the community is safe.