Rally attendees in support of law enforcement on Main Street near Sunset Park on Saturday, July 4. Photo: Chas Hundley

BANKS - Two rallies were planned in Banks on July 4th, though one, what would have been the fourth Black Lives Matter protest, was cancelled the day prior by the organizer of the protest. 

The one remaining rally was held on Main Street in front of Sunset Park from about 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in support of law enforcement officers. 

Drawing a small group of about 15 - 20 participants, the attendees waved signs and signed cards in support of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. 

Most attendees did not wear masks, but did follow social distancing measures. 

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Organized by Hillsboro resident Shannon Fertick Rubeo, the rally was her second such rally, with a third planned later that day in Hillsboro. 

Rally attendees in support of law enforcement on Main Street near Sunset Park on Saturday, July 4. Photo: Chas Hundley

“With everything that is going on in the news and everything I’m hearing, just the hate that is being spewed towards law enforcement, I think it’s wrong, I think 99% of people that go into law enforcement go into it for the right reasons, they’re there to help people and I was just getting angry, and like, sick to my stomach. It just made me sick everything that was being said, watching the news. And so, I just decided I wanted to just do something,” said Rubeo, who noted that the rally in support of law enforcement held in North Plains was her first experience organizing such an event. She estimates that 15 - 20 people showed up for that rally. 

“I back law enforcement 100%, and I also stand against racism. I don’t think it has to be one or the other. I think it’s possible to do both,” said Rubeo. 

“I’m just supporting the cops. We need them,” said Evelyn Maller, a Banks resident who attended the rally. 

Also in attendance was Banks city councilor Stephanie Jones, who was also present at the June 12 Black Lives Matter protest which drew around 300 people to Banks. 

Jones noted that her husband is an officer with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

Rally attendees in support of law enforcement on Main Street near Sunset Park on Saturday, July 4. Photo: Chas Hundley

A Black Lives Matter rally was planned for the evening of July 4th, but was cancelled on Friday, July 3. Future Black Lives Matter protests were also cancelled in Banks. 

"Obviously I am not the only member of this movement in Banks and people can choose to continue to protest as they see fit," said Annika Bratton, who had organized the event and two others in Banks.

Bratton said they believe the BLM protests organized in Banks do not provide a safe space for people of color.

"Those who have been attending are subject to racism and ugliness from those passing in cars," Bratton said.

Bratton said that, with a small group of other community activists in Banks, the plan is to continue their work by focusing on education and by creating a reading group.