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Oregon drag event sees violent protest as Proud Boys show-up

After the event was over the pub posted on its Facebook Page that despite the turmoil the event was successful



"Drag Queen Storytime" event counterprotesters Eugene, Oregon (Screenshot/YouTube News2Share)

EUGENE, Or. – A “Drag Queen Storytime” event where one of the performers, an 11-year-old girl who goes by the name of Venellope, at Old Nick’s Pub in the Market District in the downtown area was the scene Sunday of violent clashes between LGBTQ+ supporters and far right extremist group the Proud Boys and neo-Nazis.

A spokesperson for the Eugene Police Department said that around 9:45 a.m. people began congregating in front of the pub at 211 Washington St. The event, which had gotten considerable negative publicity on social media among far-right extremist groups, had the Eugene Police Department on alert including a detachment of officers in riot gear.

Firearms were reported present in both groups then shortly after 11:00 a.m., the roadway at Washington between 1st Avenue and 3rd Avenue was shut down.

“Because opposing groups were communicating plans to attend, possibly armed, Eugene Police created security plans to allow for a safe environment for everyone in the community to exercise their constitutional rights and freedoms, to protect the lives and property of all involved, and prevent safety disruption to uninvolved community members,” the EPD said in a statement.

In addition to Patrol officers, the EPD deployed its drone team and tactical units along with K-9 units.

According to the local Lane Community College newspaper, The Torch, the situation escalated when the anti-LGBTQ+ protesters attempted to enter the pub without tickets.

Later, one of the groups began leaving and projectiles were thrown, ultimately both groups were lobbing projectiles at each other. One woman appeared to have been exposed to pepper spray the local media reported while Fire-Rescue medics were called to respond to a man who was reported down with an unknown condition. He was then transported to hospital.

After the event was over the pub posted on its Facebook Page that despite the turmoil the event was successful.

According to organizers, this is not the first time the pub has held this type of event and Venellope has performed there before. She has been performing since she was 7 years old and does multiple similar events. The storytime event involves ”kid-friendly songs in costume,” where they perform and read books to kids and has been previously held in the past at the Eugene Public Library and Barnes and Noble.

NBC News affiliate KMTR 16 in Eugene reported:

“We have a lot of private security that we hired,” said Emily Chappell, one of the owners of Old Nick’s Pub. “We’ve also been working very closely with Eugene Police Department, who have been really amazing.”

Chappell says this isn’t the first time the pub has been targeted.

“Years ago we were targeted by white supremacists, Proud Boys. It happened again in 2020, and it’s all the same bit players. I’m seeing literally the same cars drive by that targeted me before,” Chappell said.

“We’ve all gotten some sort of message about, ‘Gee, I hope you die,’ or, ‘You guys are all, you know, child pedophiles,'” said Felix Raisner, a performer at Old Nick’s Pub. “And it’s like, where do you get this information? We’ve gotten hate from as far away as the U.K. and across the U.S. As far south as even Mexico, we’ve even gotten some.”

News2Share- Violence as Eugene Antifa face off right anti-trans right wingers outside drag event in Eugene, Oregon:



Anti-LGBTQ bias crime directed at Oregon library, juvenile arrested

Based on FBI crime data, Newberg is not one of the safest communities in America. Relative to all of Oregon, it has a 84% higher crime rate



The Newberg Public Library said on Facebook that a BB was fired at the library window on the southeast corner. The original 1912 glass is still intact. The new protective glass installed with grant funds in January 2024 has been shattered. (Photo Credit: Newberg Public Library)

NEWBERG, Ore. – The Newberg-Dundee Police Department were called to the Newberg Public Library after an incident occurred this past Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. No one was injured and it was initially investigated as a vandalism complaint.

However, uniformed officers referred the case to Newberg-Dundee Police detectives after “concerns that the suspect possibly had a biased intent because a pride flag was displayed directly behind the vandalized window,” arose.

In a statement the agency noted responding officers were able to determine an unknown suspect(s) shot at least one projectile into a window which caused substantial damage. The department also stated:

On June 7, 2024, after a thorough investigation, detectives were able to identify the suspect to be a juvenile. The investigation determined the juvenile acted alone. The juvenile cooperated with detectives and was arrested. This case is being referred to the Yamhill County Juvenile Department for prosecution. Oregon law prohibits the release of identities for juvenile offenders.

Any further inquiries regarding this case should be directed to the Yamhill County Juvenile Department police said.

“I was angry, and I was also profoundly disappointed that someone would do this,” Will Worthey, Newberg’s city manager, told Portland’s NBC News affiliate KGW 8 News. “It’s clearly a pathetic act,” Worthey added referring to the library shooting.

Newberg, located 24 miles southwest of Portland, Oregon is famed for its vineyards and all the surrounding wineries. But, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most recent crime data for 2023, the chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Newberg is 1 in 33.

Based on FBI crime data, Newberg is not one of the safest communities in America. Relative to Oregon, Newberg has a crime rate that is higher than 84% of the state’s cities and towns of all sizes.

Recently, Newberg has had a slew of anti-LGBTQ incidents, KGW 8 News reported. Three years ago, the Newberg School Board banned Pride flags. Then in 2022, a person was captured on surveillance video burning a Newberg resident’s Pride flag


“We take a harder look at these cases,” Daniel Fouch, a detective with the Newberg-Dundee Police Department, said.

“We have had things that have gone on in the recent past that are negative,” Newberg Mayor Bill Rosacker said. “But the people of Newberg love people.” Now, the mayor added, the community needs to stand up to hate. 

“Our town, like all towns, need to stand up for what is right,” Rosacker said.

City leaders hope the shooter has to pay for the damage.

“I’m hoping that someone has to pay restitution for this,” Worthey said.

The Newberg Public Library released a statement thanking the police for their work in obtaining an arrest: “Thank you to the Newberg-Dundee Police Department for their diligent work to resolve this case!”

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As hate crimes surge in Oregon, state launches hotline awareness

The Oregon Department of Justice wants to build awareness about the hotline, which connects victims to services



The Oregon Department of Justice building in Salem. (Ron Cooper/Oregon Capital Chronicle)

By Lynne Terry | SALEM, Ore. – With hate crimes rising in Oregon, the Department of Justice has launched a campaign to support minority communities and spread awareness of the state’s nonemergency hotline for reporting bias and hate crimes.

The campaign, dubbed “You belong,” will run for three months and include six public service announcements and ads in English, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Vietnamese and Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. They’ll be aired on the radio and television, streamed on YouTube, painted across buses and posted on Facebook, while an influencer will get word out on TikTok and Instagram.

The campaign also will include billboards in English, Spanish and Vietnamese in Portland, Gresham, Salem and Eugene.

“Every Oregonian should feel like they belong here, but acts of bias and hatred rob people of that sense of belonging,” Ellen Rosenblum, Oregon’s attorney general, said in a release. “To anyone who has experienced acts of hatred and bias, you are not alone. You belong.” 

The hotline, the first of its kind nationwide, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time, Monday through Friday. It was launched in 2020, following the passage of Senate Bill 577 in 2019. That law defined a hate or bias crime as intimidation or harm of another person or their property motivated by the person’s actual or perceived protected class, including race, color, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity. Punishment for bias crimes vary: Depending on the situation, they can be a misdemeanor or a felony, and state data shows that cases are fairly evenly divided between the two.

The confidential line was set up, in part, to help victims get services. Advocates, with services in more than 240 languages, are trained in trauma care, and sometimes callers just want to talk. They also direct callers to government and community services that range from counseling to help filing a police report. Operators also collect reports on the crimes for The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission. 

According to the commission’s dashboard, reported hate crimes in Oregon have more than tripled from about 1,100 in 2020 to 3,600 reports last year. The crimes are most prevalent in the populous Portland area, with about 2,300 reports filed over the past four years in Multnomah County and more than 700 each in Clackamas and Washington counties. More than 1,000 reports also have been filed in Lane County, and more than 800 in Marion County.

Report a bias crime:

To report a nonemergency event, call 844-924-BIAS (2427) on Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The service has interpreters in more than 240 languages. You can also file a written report here.

Most bias crimes involve harassment, the data shows, and a majority of crimes are prompted by race, with Black people being the biggest racial target. Fay Stetz-Waters, the Department of Justice’s director of civil rights and social justice, said that one reason is likely Oregon’s racist past. The state’s early Black exclusion laws tried to keep Black people from residing in the state, and later they suffered widespread discrimination, especially in housing.

“It’s part of our history,” Stetz-Waters said. “It’s perpetuated throughout our communities and throughout our culture. It’s in our schools. It’s in our work. It’s in our places of business.”

Hispanics are the second biggest target, with LGBTQ+ people suffering about as many attacks.

Stetz-Waters said the crimes are somewhat predictable: She expects an uptick in May during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and then in June, which is Pride Month.

“As we hit the summer when more people are out, when we have more public events where people like to show up and show off, I expect these numbers to rise,” Stetz-Waters said.

The line itself is also attacked.

“We’ve been getting more than 100 robocalls a day,” Stetz-Waters said. “We’re getting people reporting nonsense, nothing related to hate or bias (and) asking questions that don’t have anything to do with our work. And I think it’s just to tie up the line so that someone who has need cannot use the line.”

The department also takes reports online, and the website has a chat feature.

The unit began small: At the beginning, Stetz-Waters, who’s a lawyer with a law enforcement background, answered the phones. Now, it has a staff of 11, including a prosecutor who helps officials in smaller counties understand the law and prosecute cases. Another staff member is an investigator with law enforcement experience who helps smaller communities with investigations.

The unit also has a $100,000 victims’ fund allocated by the Legislature for the current two-year budget to help with various needs. 

The hotline awareness campaign is the department’s second. Stetz-Waters said the first one in 2020 to let people know about the service did not reach a wide audience. It came during the pandemic, when people were often socially isolated and focused on COVID.

She hopes this campaign increases awareness of the service and fosters a sense of inclusiveness.

“We want to build connections so people stay,” Stetz-Waters said. “We want people to recognize (they’re) not alone. You belong.”


Lynne Terry

Lynne Terry, who has more than 30 years of journalism experience, is Oregon Capital Chronicle’s editor-in-chief. She previously was editor of The Lund Report, a highly regarded health news site; reported on health in her 18 years at The Oregonian, was a senior producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting and Paris correspondent for National Public Radio.


The preceding article was previously published by the Oregon Capital Chronicle and is republished with permission.

Oregon Capital Chronicle focuses on deep and useful reporting on Oregon state government, politics and policy. We help readers understand how those in government are using their power, what’s happening to taxpayer dollars, and how citizens can stake a bigger role in big decisions.

We’re part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.

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Anti-trans info posted online generates bomb threats against OHSU 

“Richmond employees have endured countless threats of harm, racial slurs, anti-LGBTQIA+ hate speech and more, with little to no recourse”



Oregon Health and Science University hospital in Portland, Oregon. (OHSU/Christine Torres Hicks)

By Jonathan Levinson | PORTLAND, Ore. – A bomb threat against Oregon Health & Science University is the latest in a string of attacks and harassment against health care facilities, spurred by far-right culture war issues and COVID conspiracies.

The threat, called in Thursday, shut down OHSU’s Richmond Family Health Center throughout the day Friday. According to an email sent to members of the AFSCME union representing OHSU employees, the threat was in response to a story posted on a far-right, anti-trans website alleging a cancer patient had been dropped by the clinic over remarks she made about the LGBTQ+ community.

In the email, union chapter president Michael Stewart said clinic staff and patients evacuated the clinic upon learning of the bomb threat. The Richmond facility is home to a primary care clinic and family medicine walk-in clinic. The clinic is also one of a handful that provide gender-affirming care.

“Richmond employees have endured countless threats of harm, racial slurs, anti-LGBTQIA+ hate speech and more, with little to no recourse,” Stewart’s email said. “As one person put it, ‘Richmond staff have been sharing that they’re worried something like this would happen for a long time now, and now their fears and suspicions have been confirmed.’”

Stewart said the threat came after patient Marlene Barbera became unhappy about a trans flag hanging in the reception area of the Richmond clinic, where she was receiving breast cancer treatment. Multiple far-right media websites shared Barbera’s statements, in which she alleged “gender to be a nonsense and sexed bodies to be a reality.” She said the “transgenderism banner” was hanging like a “Nazi flag behind the reception desk.”

Barbera also alleged she had conflicts with staff in the clinic office and suggested she had offended a trans employee.

According to a letter Barbera said OHSU sent her, the hospital dropped her as a patient “because of ongoing disrespectful and hurtful remarks about our LGBTQ community and staff.”

OHSU spokesperson Nicole Rideout said the hospital is legally prohibited from confirming whether or not someone is a patient. Regarding the alleged conflict that took place between Barbera and hospital staff, Rideout pointed to general hospital policies that say: “OHSU patients, families and visitors have a responsibility to refrain from using discriminatory, profane, derogatory or threatening language, imagery or behavior, and understand that these behaviors can result in limitation of visiting privileges and impact access to care at OHSU.”

She said those policies are based on regulatory requirements.

The social media account Libs of TikTok, which has millions of followers and is known for posting anti-LGBTQ+ content, posted about Barbera’s account the day before the bomb threat. As of Saturday morning, a tweet sent by the account had 4.3 million views and nearly 11,000 retweets. The account, run by a woman named Chaya Raichik, has a history of directing harassment and threats toward children’s hospitals that provide care to transgender youths and teenagers.

In a March 2022 tweet, Raichik posted criticism of OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital’s gender-affirming care. In August 2022, staff at Boston Children’s hospital received death threats, and the hospital received an anonymous bomb threat after Raichik tweeted over a dozen false claims the hospital was performing hysterectomies on children. Children’s National in Washington, D.C., received a barrage of threatening emails and phone calls after Raichik made similarly false accusations about the hospital.

Conservative figures who drive their followings through social media have increasingly targeted health care settings since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

St. Luke’s Regional Health in Idaho successfully sued Ammon Bundy, the far-right figure who led the 2016 Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover, for more than $50 million last month. The defamation lawsuit alleged Bundy and Diego Rodriguez, the grandfather of an infant removed from the family’s custody over concerns for the child’s health, used Bundy’s People’s Rights network to rally protesters to the hospital and the homes of child protection services employees.

In his email, union president Stewart told his members the attack on OHSU was a direct threat to their trans colleagues and said the union is urging hospital leadership to provide accurate updates about this situation, increase safety protocols and offer employees mental health support.

Rideout said additional security measures have been put in place at Richmond and that OHSU offers wellness resources to its staff.


Jonathan Levinson is a multimedia reporter covering policing for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Previously, he covered Mexico as a freelancer. His radio work has appeared on NPR, Marketplace and the CBC. His photography has been featured in ESPN, The Washington Post and Bloomberg News. He has been a guest on CNN, PBS Newshour and MSNBC.

Jonathan spent five years as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army and has a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University.


The preceding article was previously published by Oregon Public Broadcasting and is republished with permission.

OPB’s critical reporting and inspiring programs are made possible by the power of member support. Be a part of it!

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Oregon House passes mandatory coverage for all trans healthcare

Oregon’s HB2002 is one of the strongest trans-protective laws moving anywhere in the United States. Last night, Oregon’s House passed it



Oregon State Capitol in Spring time. (Photo Credit: State of Oregon)

By Erin Reed | SALEM – Yesterday, Oregon’s House of Representatives passed one of the most significant expansions of transgender and abortion rights of any state. The bill, House Bill 2002, would mandate that all transgender procedures that are part o the modern standards of care would be covered by any health insurance plans offered in the state.

It would also expand abortion access on college campuses and ensure that students have access to medication abortion. House Bill 2002 also establishes legal protections for the privacy of caregivers who provide these treatments, preventing them from being targeted by an increasingly dangerous far right. The bill will now go to the Senate for consideration.

House Bill 2002 is part of a small series of bills that been enacted over the past two years that serve to broaden the scope of covered procedures for transgender individuals.

The bill passed 36-23 along party lines. It will now go to the Senate, where it will skip over committee hearings due to it having already been heard in a joint committee with both House and Senate members. Transgender advocates in the state believe that with enough pressure, it could pass into law quickly. Should it do so, Oregon will cement itself as one of the most protective states for transgender residents.

The legislation includes treatments like hair removal, voice therapy, and facial feminization or masculinization surgery which are deemed medically essential and have huge life-improving effects for trans people. This expansion is particularly significant since most health insurance coverage, if it addresses transgender care at all, is typically limited to hormones and gender reassignment surgery.

Unfortunately, insurance plans in many states have fallen behind the times, covering only procedures recommended under outdated standards of care. In contrast, modern standards of care assert that health insurance should encompass a variety of treatment options proven to benefit transgender people. House Bill 2002 reflects a necessary step forward in bridging this gap.

See this statement from WPATH’s Standards Of Care 8:

Gender-affirming interventions may also include hair removal/transplant procedures, voice therapy/surgery, counseling, and other medical procedures required to effectively affirm an individual’s gender identity and reduce gender incongruence and dysphoria.

Here is a list of expanded procedures the bill itself mandates:

Expanded procedures to be covered in Oregon if HB2002 passes

A handful of other states have passed similar expansions, though Oregon is the first this year to mandate private health insurance coverage should it pass. In 2021, Washington passed similar protections that mandate expanded coverage for gender affirming care treatments. Colorado likewise passed a similar law. In 2022, Hawaii passed legislation covering these procedures, though the negotiations were tense and there were fears that the bill could be spiked in the final days of debate. This year, Maryland passed the Trans Health Equity Act, which only applies to state-run insurance programs like Medicaid. Should Oregon’s bill pass, it will be a significant step forward in continuing to protect the rights of transgender people in a year where these rights are under heavy fire.

The bill does not stop at transgender care, however. It also expands abortion protections and patient and provider confidentiality. One section of the bill states that college campus student health centers must provide students with access to emergency contraception and abortion. It also expands the right to access abortions for minors and removes any parental consent requirements around obtaining an abortion. Abortion issues and trans issues are increasingly paired together in protective bills around the United States – the trans refuge/shield laws, for instance, tend to include abortion, reproductive healthcare, and gender affirming care protections all under the same protective bills.

Gender affirming care is lifesaving. Recent studies show a 73% reduction in suicide rates for people who can obtain medical transition. Another study shows a 40% reduction in 1-year suicide attempts. The Center for the Study of Inequality at Cornell University compiled 51 such studies showing the medical and psychological benefits of transitioning for trans people. Expanded standards of care give doctors a larger set of tools to treat gender dysphoria and increase the safety for transgender people who seek to “pass” as their gender. This last part is important for trans people visiting red states and encountering increasingly hostile political environments where they may be targeted.


Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here:


The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

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Oregon man charged with Federal hate crime after attacking gay man

On Nov. 15, the suspect was arrested by the FBI and made his initial appearance in federal court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge



Daniel Andrew McGee (Booking Photo via Lane County Sheriff's Office Eugene, Oregon)

EUGENE, Or. – An Oregon man has been charged with a federal hate crime after using the internet to target and brutally assault a gay man because of his sexual orientation.

Daniel Andrew McGee, of Springfield, Oregon has been charged by criminal complaint with a hate crime. The complaint alleges that McGee attempted to kill the victim.

According to court documents, McGee and his victim met using Grindr, a social media and networking application designed for, and used primarily by, gay men. On July 5, after agreeing to meet, McGee entered his victim’s apartment and proceeded to assault the man with a wooden club over a period of several minutes. Despite the victim’s pleas for McGee to stop, McGee continued striking the man repeatedly in the head with the club. The victim sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital.

Further investigation revealed that, in the weeks leading up to the attack, McGee used the internet to search for and view graphically violent anti-gay material, including videos of anti-gay attacks. McGee also used the internet to plan the assault, purchasing the weapon and other materials online. In addition, McGee searched online for suggestions about how to get away with murder and how murderers avoid getting caught.

On Nov. 15, McGee was arrested by the FBI and made his initial appearance in federal court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge. He was ordered detained pending further court proceedings.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon made the announcement.

This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Eugene Police Department. 

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Non-binary person reports assault by Proud Boys near Portland, Oregon

‘They nearly killed me’



Juniper Simonis (Photo by Mariah Harris)

GRESHAM, Ore. — It was a typical day for Juniper Simonis. The freelance ecologist decided to break from work for lunch at about 3 p.m. to take their service dog, Wallace, to the local dog park and grab a bite to eat.  

But a planned peaceful afternoon quickly turned ugly. Simonis says they survived a gang assault of about 30 perpetrators in Gresham, Ore., a suburb outside of Portland. The Oregon resident encountered the group for only minutes but suffered a concussion, sprained jaw, extensive car damage and verbal assaults, they said. 

“They nearly killed me,” they said.

Simonis said they turned into a parking lot to pick up lunch in Gresham, Ore., and stumbled upon a rally that included several members of the Proud Boys — a far-right, ultra-nationalist organization known for its anti-LGBTQ, anti-feminism and neo-fascist ideologies. 

There was a “Flag Ride” right-wing rally in a parking lot earlier that day. Simonis was under the impression the event had ended after checking reports on Twitter. After pulling into the lot, originally to look for lunch options, Simonis saw a large gathering still in the lot. 

Simonis decided to take pictures of what was happening to post online to warn others and was intentional in keeping their distance, they said. As Simonis was preparing to leave the area, they yelled from inside the car, “Fuck you, fascists, go home.” 

“I did not expect this to escalate into violence,” they said. 

The attack itself only lasted about three minutes, Simonis said. Simonis was quickly surrounded by several people and physically blocked from leaving the lot. People stepped in front of the parking lot exit, then a car was moved to barricade Simonis. People began to shout homophobic slurs at Simonis, they said. 

“I’m in serious trouble now and I know it,” they said. 

Simonis was then punched while inside their vehicle and was briefly knocked out. They regained consciousness a few seconds later, and a cinder block was thrown at the car and shattered the back window of their car inches away from their service dog, Wallace. 

Simonis got out of the car to assess the damage and make sure their service dog was safe. They quickly got back in their car and was able to leave the lot by maneuvering around the blocked exit, Simonis said. 

Wallace, Juniper Simonis’ service dog. (Photo by Mariah Harris)

Looking back at the photos and videos Simonis took before the assault, Simonis said they saw people looking into the camera and acknowledging them taking photos. 

“I honestly don’t know if I hadn’t said anything, that … things would have gone any different,” they said. 

Last year, Simonis was targeted and arrested by federal police in Portland during the tumultuous Black Lives Matter protests in the city. They were denied medical attention, misgendered, jumped and aggressively handcuffed while taken into custody. 

Simonis is still working through legal proceedings in a multi-plaintiff lawsuit. 

A witness to the event called the Gresham Police Department, which was only a few blocks away from the incident. But the call went to voicemail and the witness did not leave a message, Simonis said. 

Another witness called 911, Simonis said, which led to an officer calling Simonis about 45 minutes after the accident to take a report.   

In the police report obtained by the Blade, Simonis is consistently misgendered. Simonis’ sex is also listed as “unknown” in the report. The incident was labeled as vehicle vandalism. 

Simonis said the conversation with the officer was filled with victim-blaming and the officer wrote in the report that Simonis should avoid “approaching groups of this nature.”  

“At no point in this conversation does he treat me as an actual victim of a crime,” Simonis said.

The Gresham Police Department did not respond to a request for comment. 

Weeks after the assault, Simonis is struggling mentally and physically, they said. 

The concussion makes working on a computer virtually impossible because of light sensitivity and trouble focusing, Simonis said. The pain caused by the sprained jaw makes it difficult to focus, as well. 

Simonis is not able to begin physical therapy for their jaw until November because of long medical wait times, they said. The cost to repair the car damages will be about $8,000, as well, they said.  

The times where Simonis is able to focus are usually taken up by piecing together what happened that day, they said. 

“The part of my brain that I use for work has been hijacked functionally by the part of the brain that needed to know what happened to me,” they said. “There is such a painful need to understand what happened to me.”

Because of past traumatic events, like the experience of being in federal custody last year, Simonis said processing and living with the trauma is a bit easier to handle. But their ability to work will be forever changed yet again, they said. 

“I’m not able to work at the pace that I used to work at before I was assaulted by DHS. I’ll never be,” they said. “And this is just a further knockdown.” 

The trauma of the event has increased Simonis’ hyper-vigilance, as well. 

“Every time I hear a car go by, I’m double-checking,” they said. 

Even though Simonis has the tools to process and live with the immense trauma, they will never be the same person, they said. 

“They fucking changed my life forever. Point blank,” they said. “Not just mentally, but physically and physiologically. I can’t go back to where I was before. I’m lucky that I survived.”

Simonis has reported the attack to the FBI and is pursuing legal action with two specific goals in mind: to heal and to prevent similar crimes from happening.

“I am somebody who believes in abolishing the carceral system and the justice system as it exists and policing,” Simonis said. “But also a 37-year-old trans and disabled person who somehow managed to survive this long. And so naturally has become pragmatic about the world.”

Because of the reaction of the Gresham Police Department, Simonis did not want to work with local officers and instead went to the federal level. But because of the alleged assault by agents in Portland last year, this decision wasn’t easy for them.

Perpetrators in the assault threatened to call the police on Simonis,  even though Simonis did not commit a crime. Reporting the crime to the federal level is also a layer of protection, they said. 

“All of this is forcing my hand,” they said. There is no easy decision in the situation, they added. 

“We all know that crimes are underreported. We hear about it all the time,” they said. And there are reasons why people don’t report crimes and they’re totally understandable. A lot of victims are very concerned about what will happen if they break anonymity. In my situation, I’ve already broken anonymity.”

With recent arrests and crackdowns on the Proud Boys and other hate groups in the United States, Simonis is bracing for a long process. 

“This isn’t just going to go on a shelf,” they said. 

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Oregon school board bans Pride & BLM flags provoking community anger

After the ban of Pride & Black Lives Matter flags in schools neighbors constructed a large Progress Pride flag within view of the high school



Screenshot via KGW8 NBC News Portland, Oregon

NEWBERG, Or. – The Board of the Newberg Public Schools in a 4-3 vote last week will take action to ban display of any variant of the LGBTQ Pride flag and additionally will ban display of any flag associated with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

The Board’s meeting conducted over Zoom due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the explosion of cases of the Delta variant, will enact the ban on those flags, and any broadly “political” signs, clothing and other items, with the board’s three-member policy committee set to outline what constitutes “political,” Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

The Board with an all white conservative majority comprised of 5 men and 4 women, has already provoked controversy when last month they moved to strike down local and statewide policies around inclusion and racism. These actions brought swift condemnation from state lawmakers including members of the Oregon Legislature’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) caucus.

In a statement released by BIPOC, lawmakers expressed their displeasure with the school board’s actions; “As a Caucus, we remain committed to a more equitable education system that prioritizes student success and look forward to taking action during next year’s session to hold districts accountable. We also call on state and community leaders to denounce the school board’s actions. It is not ‘partisan’ to reject the type of hatred and bigotry Director Shannon and Chairman Brown [ NPS Board members] are promoting. The goal of providing a quality education for all students should be nonpartisan, including addressing systemic barriers.”

Local community members who are opposed to the ban came up with a creative protest this week according to KGW8 NBC TV news in Portland, Oregon which reported;

Following last week’s Newberg School Board vote to ban Pride and Black Lives Matter flags in schools, neighbors have constructed a large Progress Pride flag within view of the high school.

“We wanted maximum visibility,” Erin McCarthy said. “The result is pretty amazing, we love it.”

Erin and her husband Jaybill own a hillside farm in Newberg about a mile and half from Newberg High School. A clearing through the trees on their hill reveals the 17′ by 30′ painted plywood Pride Flag within view of the high school football field.

Staff members have also raised concerns over the Board’s actions. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, 16 of the school district’s counselors signed a letter asking that the Board not approve the initiative to remove the flags.

During last week’s NPS school board Zoom call meeting, one counselor, Joshua Reid, shared stories he heard from students, including students who had been rejected by their families and a Black student who was verbally and physically harassed and followed home.

“When these students enter our schools, and see the symbols that we mean to communicate love and support and affirmation, they don’t see propaganda or indoctrination or any ideology,” Reid said. “They see a glimmer of hope that there can still be safe places and safe people in their schools.”

OPB also noted that teacher Stacey Dalton, said the LGBTQ+ Pride and Black Lives Matter flags help students see themselves in school when they may not otherwise.

“They are messages of love and support,” Dalton said. “White and or heteronormative students, the majority, see their own validation consistently in the curriculum Newberg School districts have adopted and therefore do not need extra messages of support.”

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