More than 500 people marched through Oregon State University’s campus and through the city of Corvallis Friday to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
The march, which began at around 2:30 p.m. Friday at the Student Experience Center with a group of 250 OSU students taking part in a campus walkout to protest the inauguration, soon swelled to more than 500 people marching through Corvallis as dozens of local community groups joined in. The march at its peak stretched roughly a quarter-mile long.
Marchers chanted statements like “a people united will never be divided,” “love not hate,” “build bridges not walls,” and “not our future, not our fate, rise, resist, love, create.”
Many marchers carried signs with slogans such as “Love Can’t Lose,” “Rise Up,” “Don’t Lose Hope,” and “Make America Think Again.”
Corvallis Police Department and Oregon State Police vehicles monitored the protest. Authorities said, despite the large turnout, there were no incidents or arrests that came out of the protest and that the protesters obeyed all traffic laws.
A smattering of counter-protesters and Trump supporters shouted back their own chants to the protesters as they marched with a few wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, but the incidents resulted in nothing more than shouting.
The rally included a march to Corvallis’ Central Park and the Corvallis Riverfront for several speeches. The rally dissipated at the riverfront at around 5 p.m. The march began with the Campus Walkout of OSU students and some faculty. Participants joining the march ranged in age from young children to senior citizens.
Justin Nielsen, a third-year political science and philosophy major at OSU who held a megaphone to lead several chants, said he was encouraged to see so many different groups come together for the rally.
“I thought it was really powerful,” he said. “It really gives hope that the movement is going somewhere.”
Nielsen said he joined the march to remind those who opposed Trump’s election that they were not alone.
“This is not just an anti-Trump protest. A big part of it is creating a space where people feel safe,” he said. “We’re not going to normalize hate; we’re not going to accept discrimination. We want people to know they’re loved and that they’re important.”
Campus groups such as the American Association of University Professors, the OSU Philosophy Club, OSUnite and Allied Students for Another Politics joined dozens of community groups such as Corvallis SURJ, Benton County Democrats, Veterans for Peace, Albany Peace Seekers and Community Action for Racial Equality. Together, the many organizations made up a recently-formed group known as the Corvallis Coalition.
Stephanie Hampton, member of Our Revolution Corvallis Allies and chair of the Benton County Democrats, said the group formed out of more than 30 different progressive organizations in Corvallis.
“We got together and recognized that we’re facing the Trump administration and we needed to become more organized and network together,” she said. “People want to get involved.”
Hampton said Friday’s turnout of more than 500 people representing dozens of separate organizations was a clear sign that people had been looking to join together for some time.
“It’s been a dream for many years,” she said. “This is such a diverse group and that’s what we wanted to come together.”
Tracy Maynard, a member of the Corvallis Coalition, said the group is hoping that the spirit of Friday’s protest will continue and that the coalition will help those groups become focused on making a difference locally.
“There are so many different advocacy groups with so many different agendas,” she said. “But we can unite ourselves under the umbrella of this coalition for major moments like this.”
Maynard’s husband, Jon, and 7-year-old daughter Molly joined her for the rally to show their support.
“It feels good to see so many people out here, especially so many younger people,” Tracy said. “I think it’s important to start them early on having a consciousness about forming communities and resisting any form of oppression or threat to our values.”