JOHN DAY, Ore. -- A white supremacist group may establish its base in John Day and when area residents found out, they started rallying to keep them out.
According to an Oregonian article, Paul R. Mullet, who described himself as the national director of the Aryan Nations, visited John Day in eastern Oregon last week, telling people he was looking at property in the city for a possible national headquarters, Mayor Bob Quinton said.
Then, on Monday, 60 to 70 people protested the supremacist group in a downtown rally, carrying signs with slogans such as "One Race: Human," "No to Aryan Nations!" and "Say No to Hate and Violence!"
"If they've got a presence here, it's been pretty much under the radar," Mayor Quinton told The Oregonian.
Two town hall meetings were planned Friday in nearby Canyon City.
Aryan Nations advocates claim Jews and nonwhites are enemies of white people and call for racial purity. The group wants to establish a homeland for the "Aryan race," where nonwhites would be prohibited.
Jerald O'Brien, an Idaho man who calls himself a spokesman for Aryan Nations, sent an e-mail to The Associated Press saying Mullet "is not with Aryan Nations," he has "no right to use the name," and that he is "a usurper."
Grant County Undersheriff Todd McKinley said officials we not dismissing Mullet's plan.
"We are taking it seriously," he said.
The county, with fewer than 8,000 residents, "would rather be known for cattle and timber and their rivers, and not be known as an area that harbors a hate group," McKinley said.