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Protesters gather on Harlow Road; police block traffic

Police have shut down the Harlow Road bridge over Interstate 5 because of an "America First" rally.

Posted: May 5, 2019 1:33 PM
Updated: May 5, 2019 5:19 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Police have shut down the Harlow Road bridge over Interstate 5 because of an "America First" rally. 

Traffic piled up on both the Eugene and Springfield sides with police directing traffic around the bridge for nearly 2 hours. 

About one hundred protesters took over the bridge as officers from both Eugene and Springfield police department stood firm in the middle.

"We need to have a border to protect ourselves. That's reasonable. Most countries do have a border," said Mike Cross. a protester on the "America First" side.

"When children don't feel comfortable in their own community with that type of hate from our elected bucket of chicken, which is what he's equivalent to...this is what happens," said Jeffrey Pinney, a counter-protester.

Organizers from a group called "Oregon Women for Trump" said they originally organized what they called an "America First" rally and flag wave. They say they alerted police before they came to town.

An officer with the Eugene Police Department said one arrest was made, but it's unclear why.

"It's kind of back and forth," said Eric Doncan, a Eugene resident passing by. "I see some peaceful sides of it, but then you have some people arguing and throwing slanders back and forth."

Neighbors said this was inconvenient especially for those who rely on public transportation.

"Harlow is a deceptively active road," said Patrick Folsom, a man who lives near the Harlow Bridge. "And the bus that goes from Harlow road to 12th is the main bus to the VA hospital."

Organizers tell KEZI 9 News that one of the groups participating is called Oregon Women for Trump. Counter protesters are also on the scene and clashes have been reported. 

Police say they were prepared ahead of time, due to their early knowledge that the "America First" protest would be happening.

The bridge opened up at 2:30 P.M.

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