PORTLAND, Ore. — Hundreds of people gathered along Portland’s waterfront Saturday evening in defiance of state orders to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
They came to see Sean Feucht, a controversial worship leader and political activist who has held similar crowded outdoor services on the beaches in California in defiance of coronavirus restrictions there. Organizers dubbed the event in Portland as “Riots to Revival,” and hoped to flip the script by bringing worship, prayer and acts of kindness to the city.
Pictures and videos taken by KGW’s Kyle Iboshi show the vast majority of the crowd was not wearing masks or social distancing. Many attendees Iboshi spoke with were from out of town, including Longview and Central Oregon.
When asked about the lack of safety measures in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, people in attendance didn’t have concerns.
“My faith is in God,” one person said. “Not fear of [COVID-19]. I’m good.”
“Most of us are just here for this and then we’re leaving,” said one woman. “So, I don’t think it is going to have an impact on Portland. But I don’t know. I’m not a scientist.”
“We’re not big mask people so it doesn’t bother us,” another person said.
State rules clearly note faith gatherings are capped at 50 people with physical distancing for indoors and outdoors. The event at Waterfront Park was obviously in violation.
There were a handful of counter-protesters who at one point chanted, “Wear a mask!”
A similar worship service is scheduled in Seattle on Sunday.