PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — Estacada Mayor Sean Drinkwine has apologized to the community after criticizing the Black Lives Matter demonstrations that have occurred in town for the past several weeks in a social media post.
On Monday, Drinkwine posted in the Estacada Neighborhood Watch Uncensored Facebook group that “I would not and have not condoned these BLM Vigils in our community. All city staff and I are working tirelessly to shut these Vigils down … Our number one concern is to keep our city safe and free from conflict.”
Although the original post has since been deleted, a post with the screenshot of its content garnered over 250 comments as of Monday afternoon.
“My intention was to keep violence out of the area and not so much to negate their gathering. But I expressed myself poorly,” Drinkwine said during an Estacada City Council meeting on Monday, June 22.
In an email to the Estacada News, City Manager Denise Carey stated that city staff have not been involved in attempting to shut down the demonstrations.
“The city has not been working to shut down the peaceful vigils that have been held or are scheduled to be held at City Hall,” Carey wrote. “There was a post that the Summer Celebration was the host of the event and this was not correct and has been corrected.”
Organized by several local residents, Estacada’s demonstrations in support of the Black Lives Matter movement began on Saturday, June 6, and have occurred every Saturday since then. These peaceful protests are hosted in solidarity with numerous others around the state and country calling for an end to systemic racism and police brutality against the Black community.
Thus far, each gathering has drawn between 25-50 people holding signs with statements such as “Racism sucks,” “Justice denied anywhere is justice denied everywhere” and “Stop hatred, violence and racism.”
Each of these events has been largely peaceful other than several verbal disagreements, which remained nonviolent.
“Although the City of Estacada is not hosting the BLM events that have been happening and are planned to happen at City Hall, we appreciate the rights of citizens to peacefully gather to express their opinions,” city of Estacada staff wrote in a Facebook post.
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