PORTLAND -- Protesters with rifles were causing some concern in the Portland Metro area, but were not breaking the law, police said.
Police were called just before 2 p.m. to the report of men carrying assault rifles on their backs near Southeast 7th Avenue and Spokane Street, said Portland Police Sgt. Pete Simpson.
"Officers arrived in the area and contacted the two men, both age 22, and confirmed that they were carrying rifles openly on their backs," Simpson said.
The men were identified by police as Warren Drouin and Steven Boyce. They both have valid concealed handgun licenses.
"The armed men told police that they were exercising their 2nd Amendment rights and hoping to educate the public," Simpson said. They had also been protesting in the Gresham area earlier in the afternoon, according to Gresham police dispatchers.
He added that police wanted to assure the public that they did not believe the protest was dangerous.
Some area businesses told KGW they had locked down as a precaution. A nearby daycare also alerted parents, many of whom chose to pick up their children early. Emergency dispatchers said there were a total of ten 911 calls related to the men walking through neighborhoods in Gresham and Portland.
"Officers explained to the men that they would likely continue to generate 911 calls from an alarmed public, which would require a police response, but neither man seemed interested in these concerns," Simpson added.
He added that there were concerns increased police action to the protest could tie up resources which are needed elsewhere to respond to true emergencies.