CRESWELL, Ore.-- The city of Creswell is divided nearly a month after a controversial fourth of July parade.
While some community members said they were just celebrating the birth of the country, others say an unpermitted celebration should not have proceeded.
Now, community leaders are under fire.
Creswell resident Ian Gwaltney shared a letter with KEZI in which he wrote to the city council: “My complaint is that the city leaders should have taken the bull by the horns, should have maybe reached out to make this event more of a success, if that involved granting a last-minute permit to make sure this happens in a safe, orderly manner, so be it.”
Citations of more than $2,500 were given out to the two main organizers of the parade for violating local codes and laws.
Creswell’s Mayor Amy Knudsen said in a Facebook post— “The parade organizers are not being cited for their affiliations with any group; they are being cited for violating city code.”
Knudsen was not in attendance-- but claims when she was driving by-- things got heated.
In the same Facebook post—she said a man came up to her car and threatened to kill her.
Knudsen also said, “While the two organizers of the parade are affiliated with the Proud Boys group and QAnon, I do not believe the majority of the parade participants and attendees are affiliated with these groups.”
These two far-right groups being in attendance drew heat from many in Lane County.
One Creswell resident who asked to remain anonymous said, “I defiantly don’t agree with the certain groups that were there like the Proud Boys and such. That was completely disgraceful, in my opinion.”
But many other residents said that the aftermath of the parade was blown out of proportion.
“There were a lot of people that were involved,” said a Creswell resident. “There was the VFW, there was a local lady who brought her horses—I don’t think any of these people are affiliated with the Proud Boys and to try and turn the whole thing into some kind of Proud Boy rally—they are just blowing the whole thing out of proportion.”
Community members in Creswell said more than anything, they want their reputation back as a united community.
Even some community leaders do not see eye to eye, which is causing a bigger divide.
In an open letter to city manager Michelle Amberg on Facebook-- Medina writes in part: “She has shown a lack of respect for the people of this town as she has stated multiple times that she does not trust the people of this town to make their own choices. Having this mindset in a city manager is dangerous and needs to be changed.”
Many in the community expressed disappointment about the division in the community.
"It seems like everything is getting worse for people just bickering about almost useless things," one resident said.
Mayor Knudsen closed her Facebook post by saying, “While this year’s parade was organized and hosted by individuals other than the City or Chamber of Commerce, I hope the 2022 July 4th celebration will continue our traditions and everyone can participate and enjoy a Creswell hosted 4th of July event. I encourage people to volunteer their time and efforts to make that celebration happen next year. I encourage anyone willing to organize an event to submit the proper permits as well.”