BEND, Ore. - A crowd estimated at up to 5,000 people gathered, marched and rallied in downtown Bend Saturday, chanting and carrying signs in protest of and opposition to new President Donald Trump’s policies, proposals and campaign statements they consider offensive to women and others.
Called to coincide with a major Women’s March in Washington, D.C., and numerous communities nationwide, the event broadened to a “solidarity march” with such participants as a new group called The Vocal Seniority, opposed to the new Republican president’s policies and plans.
A spokesman for The Vocal Seniority said organizers estimated the crowd grew to 3,000 people during the event, formally called the Solidarity March and Rally in Support of the Women’s March on Washington. The Protect Our Progress Coalition, which organized the event, estimated the crowd at 5,000.
Bend police Lt. Clint Burleigh said they had no formal crowd estimate but that organizers’ reports of 3,000 to 5,000 appeared to be accurate. He said there were few problems in the area and no serious ones, despite the large presence downtown.
"We were prepared, met with the organizers, had an open dialog and worked together to minimize any problems," Burleigh said. “It went super-smooth.”
The Bend gathering began at the Drake Park bandstand, followed by a march along Bond and Wall streets and ending with a rally at Crow’s Feet Commons in Riverfront Plaza, one of numerous such protests around the country.
The causes were varied, but many focused on what they called denigrating and offensive comments about women and others during Trump's campaign. They also expressed opposition to the president’s calls to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, with many unsure the replacement won’t leave many newly insured Americans without coverage.
"I do not consider him a legitimate president -- I consider him a hazard," one protester said.
Another said, "Obviously, the Republicans aren't concerned about health care and the elderly and Social Security."
The causes and reasons for participating were varied, as were the ages, with many children and teens walking along with their families. And though it began as a "women's march," plenty of men were in the crowd.
"I'm here today because I have sisters, I have daughters, I have granddaughters," Dave Felton said. "I want them to grow up in a world they're free to make choices when it comes to their health and their bodies and who they love. I want them to feel they can be who they want to be, no matter who that is."
Reporter Audrey Roberts will have a report on the event tonight on NewsChannel 21 at Six.