More than 1,000 people lined up to get inside the Lane County Events Center in Eugene Friday evening to see Donald Trump speak at his first Oregon rally as a candidate. The apparent Republican nominee for president has attracted long lines of supporters and many protesters.
Trump campaign signs that read “Make America Great Again” festooned the events center. Trump hats, pins and shirts were for sale.
Dan Wheeler was among the supporters eager to get inside. He said he agrees with Trump on the issues.
“From day number one he was talking about the problem with the illegal aliens. All right? That right there got my interest,” Wheeler said. “Then the press attacked him, like the press normally attacks everybody, trying to make them be politically correct, and all the other politicians always back down. He didn’t.”
Wheeler was born and raised in Eugene and called Oregon “too far to the left” to benefit from most of Trump’s stated policies. One thing Wheeler is hoping for is the loosening of forestry regulations for what he calls reasonable logging.
Another supporter from Eugene said she backs Trump because he’s a businessman who has never held office, and she wants to get back at the people who are currently in office.
Despite a request from the Rolling Stones that the Trump campaign not to use their music at his rallies, loudspeakers wailed songs by the English band including “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” “Let’s Spend The Night Together,” and “Satisfaction.”
There was a heavy security presence all around the fairgrounds. A few people were protesting on the perimeter of the event holding banners with slogans like “Say no to hate.” However, they were not being allowed inside the main parking lot area unless they had a ticket.
About two hours before Trump was scheduled to speak, many people with tickets were still lined up outside the building waiting to get through security. But spirits were high and the line moved quickly.
Trump also has appearances scheduled for Saturday at noon in Spokane and 3 p.m. in Lynden, Washington.