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COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. - Wolfclan Armory is a martial arts supply store in Creswell that sells knives, survival tools, and everything in between. They're moving to a location in Cottage Grove, because they said it will give them more opportunities to keep growing, but that move has been met with resistance.
One woman has made her complaints known, standing outside of the new location on Main Street in Cottage Grove. Venice Mason alleges that the owners of the business are racists and neo-Nazis, and she doesn't want their business coming to town. She's stood outside holding a sign that reads, "No Hate on Main."
"We have to have a bottom line and a moral compass when it comes to known divisive, hate-based places," Mason said, "this will be a hub for hate. We don't want it here. I don't want it here. And I hope that my community continues to support me in not wanting it here either."
One issue Mason said she has with the store is its name, Wolfclan, and its flag.
"I deeply believe that the use of the clan name and the use of wolf, in this case, is not appropriate," she said. "This is nothing but racist ideology."
However, the store owners said the name is in honor of their son, Elias, who committed suicide nearly 18 years ago. Jeanette Laskey, Elias' mother and one of the owners, said everyone used to call him "Lone Wolf" when he was growing up, and that's where they got the name for the store.
"This lady seems to think that we've infringed on her rights to be the Wolfclan, or the lone wolf, or something," Laskey said. "My son was a lone wolf...that's why we're the Wolfclan."
Mason also claimed that the family has a racist and divisive past. Laskey said this is true of one of her seven sons.
Jacob Laskey was arrested in 2002 for throwing swastika-etched bricks through the Temple Beth Israel synagogue in Eugene. He spent 11 years in prison. He was recently arrested again for allegedly stabbing a 41-year-old man in Creswell. Laskey said her son is no longer affiliated with the white supremacist movement.
Laskey said this has been a very unwelcome greeting, and it's been hard to see this kind of display right outside her store.
"They say we're neo-Nazis, and we're not. Never have been, never will be," Laskey said. "It seems like our son can't live down his past, even though he's tried to."
Mason admitted to being a bit aggressive with her reaction to this store, and she has been witnessed raising her voice at the owners. She said she feels Cottage Grove is an important and accepting place, and she doesn't want to see it tainted.
"These are convicted hate criminals, these are known racists, and this will serve as a hub for an ideology that I don't feel belongs here," Mason said.
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