This Saturday afternoon in Portland’s southeast Lents Park, anti-racist activists held a rally in response to the gathering of white-power skinheads (and their hardcore bands) known as Hammerfest 2007. (See this week's WW story.) After the rally, a diverse group of about 50 people, including a number of anti-racist skinheads, spontaneously arranged a caravan to a nearby neighborhood to leaflet. The fliers warned residents that one of their neighbors is neo-Nazi Randall Krager , who lives with his partner and fellow “racialist” Abbie Chelf on Southeast 70th Avenue near Johnson Creek Boulevard. The white power leader is one of the founding members of Volksfront, an Oregon-based white power group that helped sponsor Hammerfest 2007. Krager and three others founded Volksfront in 1994 while Krager was serving a sentence for nearly beating to death an African-American father of four and leaving him paralyzed.
Most of the people who were handed fliers by the motley parade of anti-racist activists were concerned and somewhat horrified to learn that a neo-Nazi leader lives steps away from their own homes. Standing in Harney Park at Southeast 70th Avenue and Harney Street, a crew of soccer moms read the fliers and called their kids in from the field, expressing plans to talk to other moms in the area about Krager’s presence. After about 20 minutes of walking around the area, the action dispersed and leafletters went their separate ways without incident.
At the time of the rally, members of the organizing group The Ad-Hoc Committee Against Racism and Fascism still didn’t know the location of Hammerfest. Then around 6 pm, anti-racist organizers were tipped off that the Aryan moshpit was taking place at the Sherwood Elks Lodge at 22770 SW Elwert Road in Sherwood, Ore . They immediately posted their findings to activist newswire portland.indymedia.org, with hopes that Portland area residents might pressure the Elks Lodge to shut down Hammerfest by calling the venue’s booking agent at (503) 625-5977. A look at the Sherwood Elks Lodge website revealed that the club’s motto is “charity, justice, brotherly love, and fidelity,” which raises the question of whether the lodge members are aware that they are hosting an anniversary party for a crew of neo-Nazis with a violent history of assault convictions . Both Volksfront and the Hammerskins have been historically linked to the 1988 Portland killing of 28 year-old Ethiopian college student Mulugeta Seraw, who was beaten to death by racist skins on Southeast 31st Avenue.
The Ad-Hoc Committee's Indymedia post says they spoke with the Elks Lodge booker, and paraphrased his opinion that the gathering was "just a bunch of guys playing music." Check back on WWire for Elks response and more updates.