PORTLAND, Ore. — Fears of violence at this weekend's protest have a lot of people worried, especially after what we've seen happen on Portland's streets in the past.
This rally in particular, which is scheduled for Saturday at Waterfront Park, has people more on edge. It’s being called "End Domestic Terrorism." It's created by a former InfoWars contributor who lives in Florida. He says he wants to fly to Portland to confront members of the far-left group Antifa.
He's calling on others to do the same. One participant is reportedly a man from El Paso, Texas who showed up at an immigration center with a knife, according to police.
Back in Portland, organizers of the Roses on the River 5K Run and Walk are being forced to change the location to keep participants away from the protest, which is not an easy task with the event being only a week away.
The original location was at Waterfront Park, the same place protesters plan to meet.
Aaron Montaglione, the president of Terrapin Events, said he’s frustrated. He and another organizer have been working hard on putting the 5K run-and-walk together for the last 10 months.
"It's called Roses On The River. It's a 5K run-and-walk in conjunction with the Portland Thorns," he said.
People have been looking forward to the event, especially those who are big Thorns fans. In addition to the 5K, participants get to meet Thorns players who will be handing out roses at the finish line, they get a commemorative scarf, and even get to go to a Thorns match after the race.
With concerns of violence at the protest, Montaglione said the event is being forced to make big changes.
"We were scrambling. It was a very busy, stressful week last week trying to make everything happen so that the event could still happen and everyone would be safe," he said.
Montaglione said city officials suggested he move the 5K from Waterfront Park, across the river to the Eastbank Esplanade. With that location change comes a lot of work. Montaglione now has to make sure participants, vendors, and volunteers know where to go.
Part of the frustration for him is that the protest's organizers are flying into Portland from out of state, and in the process are displacing a community event.
"It's very frustrating. Why not do it in Florida? You live in Florida. Do it in Florida. But we're trying to be positive," Montaglione said.
Mayor Wheeler to protesters: Stay away from Portland
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But it isn't easy. Financially, the event is taking a hit too. We're talking tens of thousands of dollars. Montaglione said people have been hesitant to sign up.
"When you have a hit like that, a couple hundred people at $45 a person, if we're missing those people because they're afraid to come out, then yeah we're taking a pretty large financial hit," Montaglione said.
This is the second year for Roses on the River. Last year, Montaglione said there were about 1,000 participants. This year, there are about half that amount. He said it seems fewer people are signing up because of the protest. Some who have already signed up are also deciding not to come.
"[We've] gotten some emails from folks who said, 'Thanks for making the change, thank you for moving it, and hopefully making it safer, but we just don’t feel comfortable coming down so we’re not going to come,'" he said.
If you’re interested in participating, sign up at the website. You can also show up on the day of the event. Montaglione said it's $45 to participate.
Other businesses and event organizers are preparing for the protest as well.
The owner of Kells Irish Pub announced Monday morning that he's canceling the pub's Summer Smoker, a live amateur exhibition boxing match that was originally scheduled for Saturday night. Kells is located in downtown Portland, at 112 Southwest 2nd Avenue. Owner Gerard McAleese said the event typically draws up to 500 spectators.
"Rival protest demonstrations scheduled to take place on the nearby Waterfront have given us cause for concern," McAleese said in a statement. "Our overarching interest is for the welfare and safety of our staff and customers, as well as the safety of Portland citizens and visitors."
Gray Line of Portland's Pink Trolley Sightseeing Tour, which has a ticket booth right across from Waterfront Park, is considering the idea of canceling operations on Saturday.
Meantime, Mayor Ted Wheeler has said Portland police can use whatever means necessary to ensure public safety.