On the second day that the racist skinhead group, Hammerskins Nation was meeting in the Portland area, the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism and Fascism discovered exactly where this secret gathering was being held. The hate group was celebrating its 20th anniversary with a three-day festival at the Sherwood Elks Club. Elk Club representatives say the Hammerskins lied about who they were.
The White supremacist Hammerskins, an international neo-Nazi organization that began as a violent Dallas, Texas gang, had succeeded in keeping the location of its festivities very quiet. So quiet, in fact, that organizers for Saturday's anti-racist rally in Lents Park didn't find out until after their protest rally had dispersed.
A spokesperson for the Ad-hoc Committee wouldn't say how members of his group discovered the secret location.
After receiving notification that their meeting hall was being used by neo-Nazi organizers, the Elks ejected the group in the early evening hours for misrepresenting themselves in their application to lease the space. Tony Baker, exalted ruler of the Sherwood Robin Hood Elks, told news outlets that the Hammerskins told him they were a rock band having a reunion.
The spokesman for the Ad-hoc Committee, who asked to be quoted only by his first name, Dave, said he recalls when he first talked to Baker the Elks leader said, "Sorry, you're wrong." Later Baker told news outlets he was duped. Local news station KATU news arrived that night with a camera crew and encountered angry racist skinheads.
"I personally experienced total amazement that (the Elks) didn't know," Dave said. "There is something distinctly paramilitary about the way these people look."
Dave admitted that many symbols used by the Hammerskins are lesser known.
Baker told reporters he saw a few swastikas when he arrived to eject the group, but he didn't see any when he first met with the group's leaders.