Robert Evans: How Portland Stopped the Proud Boys
Portland, Oregon, witnessed early versions of the Proud Boys events that culminated in the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021; years of anti-fascist organizing and the belated intervention of law enforcement halted their activities in the city
New Lines Magazine, September 5, 2022
his was the first summer since 2019 that I have not needed to don armor, strap on a gun or load up a first aid kit to go and report in downtown Portland, Oregon. Since 2017, the Rose City has hosted regular gatherings of far-right militant groups, like the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, that degenerate into mass brawls with anti-fascist activists. Violence has been regular enough that some local left-wing activists refer to summer as the “fighting season.” But this year, there were no protests or rallies of note.
While the Pacific Northwest, true to its reputation, has an assortment of bespoke local fascist groups, the Proud Boys, a far-right gang that has been labeled a “terrorist entity” in Canada and New Zealand, have been present at nearly every event.
Their absence from Portland this summer is noteworthy. The opposite has been true for much of the rest of the country. There are more Proud Boys chapters now in the United States than there were on Jan. 6, 2021. The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project has tracked more than 200 of their public events around the country since they stormed the U.S. Capitol.