On Friday afternoon, June 5th, the City of North Bend issued a news release regarding its preparation plans for the Stand in Solidarity Snoqualmie Valley peaceful, anti-racism protest planned for downtown North Bend on Saturday afternoon, June 6th, from 2PM – 5PM.
According to the city, organizers reached out to the Snoqualmie/North Bend Police Department and the City administration to explain their plans to stand on sidewalks near the intersection of Bendigo Boulevard and North Bend Way in peaceful protest. In an email to the City, they wrote that they plan to adhere to social distancing guidelines, wear masks and provide hand sanitizer and water.
The Snoqualmie Police Department said it is doing its best to prepare for potential violence and looting in the area and will respond to any incidents accordingly. They are also working with allied agencies as needed to ensure appropriate resources are present.
“We have been developing a plan and have had meetings with stakeholders to help with the plan. Part of that plan involves increasing our police personnel for the event and having additional resources on standby,” Police Chief Perry Phipps said. “Our stance will be to allow for the peaceful event and to not “police” those who are peacefully using their First Amendment rights and to focus on anyone that may be violating that peace.”
The City of North Bend reminds the community that like the rest of King County, it just entered Phase 1.5 of the Governor’s Safe Start Plan and encourages residents to limit travel to essential and permitted activities.
Per the news release, “We do understand that some storefront businesses, in an abundance of caution, may elect to shut down and secure their buildings for this demonstration. With all of this in mind, we encourage community members and visitors to avoid downtown and the area of the protests between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.”
SPD said it is prepared to respond to any potential incidents or criminal activity that could cause damage to North Bend businesses and the community.
“We have been in discussions with the original people who started this event and we are anticipating that it will be peaceful. We are also aware of a group of local citizens who may be there to “protect” our community. This could present some new concerns as well,” Chief Phipps said. “We are doing everything possible to ensure public safety and encourage everyone to stand up for racial injustice through non-violence.”
The City of North Bend and the Snoqualmie/North Bend Police Department both said they condemn racism and affirm the rights of people to peacefully protest against injustice.