About 1,500 people rallied Saturday at the Josephine County Courthouse to protest plans for a statewide recruiting drive by white supremacists.
The state leader of the Aryan Nations, Dennis Hilligoss of Merlin, had announced earlier that the racist group was planning to make Josephine County the base for its recruiting drive.
However, Hilligoss told county officials he was postponing a downtown rally to kick off the drive.
Instead, demonstrators gathered to protest the white supremacists, carrying signs, banners and balloons.
“How great it is to see so many residents of Josephine County who are willing to stand up against those who would create fear and violence,” said Mayor Gordon Anderson.
Sgt. Logan Calvo of the Josephine County sheriff’s department said it was the largest rally he had seen in his 14-year career.
Rachel Sims, a 13-year-old South Middle School student, said she encouraged her friends to join her at the rally after reading about the Aryan Nations in the Grants Pass Daily Courier this week.
“It made me mad,” Sims said.
“I hope it scares them off. I don’t want them here. This is my city, don’t bring your hate here.”