Hundreds of thousands of people marched nationwide in more than 700 rallies sparked by the controversy over U.S. border and immigration policies.
The mid-valley took part as well, with a morning rally in Albany and an afternoon event in Corvallis. Key issues discussed at the rallies including the separation of children from their parents, and the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy at the southern border.
The marches had an aspect of guerrilla theater to them, with little or no advance publicity. Participants got the word via social media or word of mouth.
“It was an incredibly impressive turnout given how little was done in the way of publicity,” said state Sen. Sara Gelser, whose district includes Corvallis an Albany. “People of all ages participated, it was very grass-rootsy, and people were peaceful, energetic and organic."
Both events had no planned programs or lists of speakers, with individuals wanting to make a comment just coming up and airing their views like the public comment section of a government meeting.
Gelser said that crowds in the hundreds were on hand for both events. The Albany march started on the front steps of the Linn County Courthouse, with participants marching in the block surrounding the courthouse. Speakers used the lawn at the south end of the Benton County Courthouse to address the crowd, which then marched through the downtown area.
There was a good turnout of local faith leaders at both rallies, Gelser said.
“The events were exciting and uplifting,” she added, “and they gave people a chance to air their views on policies that are completely inhumane and un-American.”