A gathering of national far-right A-listers scheduled this spring in Redmond has been moved to Salem, according to the organization’s website.
The “Reawaken America Tour” was on the books for April 1-2 at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center.
The event flyer now says Gen. Michael Flynn and the rest of “Team America” will appear at the River Church in Salem on those dates.
Run by conservative podcast host Clay Clark, the tour bills itself as a conference to talk about vaccine freedom and religious freedom along with “election fraud, medical fraud and mainstream media fraud,” among other topics.
It promises appearances by Flynn, Roger Stone, several pastors and doctors who have made a name for themselves online for promoting alternative methods of fighting COVID.
Since news broke of the tour stop in Redmond, there have been multiple reports about some back-and-forth between Deschutes County Commissioners and event organizers about whether state mask mandates would be enforced.
Publicly, commissioners have made assurances the event could only happen if the mask rules were followed.
“I am working right now to ensure that the County communicates to the event organizers that they are required to comply with all public health regulations in order to hold their event there,” Commissioner Phil Chang said earlier this month. “And when the event rolls around I will do everything in my power to ensure that compliance is monitored and enforced – including calling OSHA myself to report violations if necessary.”
Commission Chairman Tony DeBone said he did not talk to event organizers about their intent to move.
He said he supported the gathering and they were asked to follow the rules of the event space.
Clark told Central Oregon Daily News that he had not been in contact with county officials and wasn’t aware of any issues about masks.
“I’ve been trying to get every event at a church,” he said, adding that the Salem church was “aware of the urgency of what I’m doing.”
“I would classify these events as a revival,” he said.
Earlier this month we reported about 800 of the 3,500 tickets for the Redmond had been sold; general admission tickets went for $250 while VIP tickets for seats closer to the front cost $500.
Those tickets will not be refunded; buyers can use them at the new event.
After hearing about the organizer’s change of heart, Chang said Tuesday he was “relieved” it’s put an end to a potentially contentious issue in April.
“The event organizers have said that (the mask issue) was not one of the reasons they decided to move, but I think it may have been a significant factor,” he said. “They expressed a specific desire to find a venue which would not require them to wear masks. That was one of the reasons stated by the event organizer that they wanted to use the fairgrounds.
“And so when that expectation was turned around and they realized that they would need to comply with state public health regulations, I think that made it a less attractive place to do their thing.”
Chang said, “whether I agree with the people’s perspectives or not, everyone is allowed to book an event at the fairgrounds as long as they can comply with the law and pay their bill.”
He said the fairgrounds has since added language to the general events agreement that spells out they will be required to comply with public health regulations.
If the regulations aren’t followed, Chang said the language would allow the county to shut it down even while the event is happening.
Clark has said the CDC created COVID-19 and Flynn has long been an opponent of the COVID restrictions in place across the country.
The tour, which has included Eric Trump and My Pillow Founder Mike Lindell as speakers, has made headlines several times since it started last fall.
At the tour’s stop in San Antonio in November, Flynn came under fire for suggesting America should have “one religion under God.”
At another stop in Texas in December, several members of the tour fell ill after the event and later claimed they were poisoned with anthrax.
The Associated Press contributed to this report