The Portland Police Bureau arrested at least one person at that event shortly after noon, and reported on Twitter that they had confiscated a shield. A group of black-clad demonstrators loaded makeshift plastic shields from a bus on their way to the Bloom rally, while medical crews set up tents.
Doreen McGrath, a 63-year-old activist, said she had driven in with a group of about 25 people from Seattle. Their group stood on the outskirts of the gathering, chanting and waving signs. “Hey there, Proud Boys, you better hide,” they chanted. “We can see your fascist side.”
Alex Sundine, a member of Black Unity PDX, an activist group in Portland, said the organizers of the second counter-rally, the one being held about a half-mile away from Proud Boys event, planned to focus on their own event and ignore any efforts by the Proud Boys members to engage them.
Among other things, organizers there said they would discuss the history of the Vanport neighborhood, a former home to many Black shipbuilders who were kept out of Portland by discriminatory housing practices. The city was destroyed when the Columbia River flooded it in 1948, and part of it was later turned into Delta Park, the site the Proud Boys members chose for their rally.
“It’s a history lesson almost to make people aware of what that land was and what it means — and a reminder of how our society treats Black people,” Mr. Sundine said.
About 200 people were gathered for the event by noon on Saturday, holding Black Lives Matter flags and signs such as “Cops, Feds, and Fascists Out Of Portland Now!”
Even as he publicly condemned anyone hoping for violence, Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, acknowledged in an interview on Friday that skirmishes were possible, if not likely.