By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS
The organizer of a planned rally for President Trump in Bend Saturday vows a controversial group won’t be part of the festivities.
“I want to make it loud and clear that Proud Boys will not be at this event at all,” said Nicholas Dieringer, a local musician and filmmaker in Bend who’s heading up the Trump Cruise Rally.
The rally is scheduled from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., but Dieringer isn’t yet revealing a location to reduce the chances of a large counter-protest.
The plan is for a potluck, guest speakers and a cruise through Bend with a route being released at the afternoon gathering.
“We want to make sure people can come out, enjoy the event and not worry about people with bad intentions that may want to cause harm to the event or ruin the event or stop people from practicing their freedom of speech,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of the Central Oregon Peacekeepers say they’re following rumors Proud Boys will be part of the event.
They’re keeping a close eye on social media to track the rally’s location and route.
“We agree that everyone has their first amendment right to stand for what they believe in and who they want to vote for,” said Luke Richter, a Peacekeeper organizer. “We completely condemn the Proud Boys and know that they are a violent hate group and they aren’t welcome in this community.”
Bend Police have said they’re aware of a planned rally and would “plan accordingly,” but did not elaborate on any details.
Dieringer said it was in the best interest of everyone to hold off on announcing event details.
“I think if we wait to the latest possible, then we can eliminate a lot of that negativity that has tended to follow these Trump rallies and events and I want to do my best to avoid that,” he said.
Richter said he expected the group will cruise through downtown and his group will be ready with a rally of inclusion.
“I’ve seen ideas of people standing on sidewalks with inclusive flags, Pride flags, BLM flags, things like that,” he said. “I’m hoping we can do something like that as they are driving through. Show some equality and inclusiveness.”
Dieringer knows people will find out about the cruise and said he welcomes a counter-protest as long as everyone remains peaceful and accepting.
“If we can come together and join side by side and we can share our views without having it be violent, that is the best way forward to show that we are united,” he said. “That’s the way forward. That’s how we can heal our communities and heal this craziness that’s going on.