Complaints of ‘noise pollution’ but no problem incidents on Saturday
LYNDEN — A “liberate Lynden” parade — in protest of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions — drew hundreds of participant vehicles creating plenty of noise on a long rolling route on Saturday.
“The whole town was full of cars,” said participant Gerald Hulbert. “Sometimes I didn’t know if we were coming or going.”
The starting point was changed to Bender Fields because of the number of vehicles, from what had been set before, the Fairway Center parking lot. The route was from Bender along Homestead Boulevard to Depot Road, south to Grover Street, and along it to the Fairway Center, and back.
“The parade route was 5.1 miles long and was solid cars, with another 40 still waiting to come out of the Bender parking lot when the lead truck got all the way back to Bender,” said Julie Anderson, one of the organizers, on Monday.
Anderson said 500 vehicles and 1,200 people were in it.
Lynden Police Chief Steve Taylor said the event was largely peaceful, with no problem incidents reported although two citizens complained of excessive honking of horns.
That view was voiced also by an 80-year-old woman who called the Tribune on Monday to say she had to listen to two hours of “noise pollution” that infringed on her right to peace. She thought the parade could have been held at the fairgrounds.
“I just don’t think they were thinking about other people. They scared me,” she said, not wanting her name used.
The protesters’ claim is it’s time for Gov. Jay Inslee to loosen up his stay-at-home orders against the coronavirus and let small businesses and churches reopen. As it stands now, the restrictions continue through at least May 31.
A face-covering mask — a staple of the coronavirus fight — could not be seen among the Saturday paraders, nor was six-foot social distancing much in evidence.
Television station KING-5 of Seattle covered the parade. Supporters along the sidelines spoke of how the businesses they depend on for livelihood are shut down, and they cannot go to the YMCA, the library or churches.
“Inslee has overstretched his authority,” said one person to KING-5. “Olympia needs to get off everyone’s back ... Let people decide on their own.”
These were some of the opposing parade reactions on YouTube:
• “My wife is a nurse at St. Joe’s. She has to risk her health to take care of these idiots when they show up with COVID-19.”
• “What part of ‘protecting community health’ don’t these people seem to comprehend?”
• “As long as there still is an active global pandemic and no curable vaccine in the very near future, anyone that goes out without proper PPE, along with social distancing, and being tested, is being irresponsible and reckless. Anyone can still spread the virus even though you have no symptoms.”