Citizens Against Tyranny has a new list, this one of alleged supporters of the cause. But not everyone named on the list is happy about it.
Citizens Against Tyranny says it stands with local businesses and opposes state COVID-19 mandates it labels tyrannical.
But some of its methods have garnered controversy, such as targeting of individuals it asserts have filed complaints against local businesses and the demand that all local officials sign up or face recall efforts.
Last month, Citizens Against Tyranny’s website listed two senior women who it asserted had filed complaints against local businesses. The women’s names were removed from its website after an inquiry by The News-Review. One of the women told a reporter she hadn’t filed any report at all.
The Douglas County commissioners, sheriff and district attorney have all come out in opposition to Citizens Against Tyranny.
The group’s new list includes about 100 local businesses it says support the cause. The list was published by the Roseburg Beacon and posted last week on the Citizens Against Tyranny Douglas County Facebook page.
Some businesses on that list told The News-Review Friday they signed something, but weren’t clear about what they were signing. Others said they never signed anything and have no idea why they’re on the list at all.
Most of those who told The News-Review they never signed onto a list wanted to speak anonymously, saying the new list had put them between a rock and a hard place.
They said they didn’t want to get involved in a political fight in the first place, and now they’re doomed to offend and potentially lose some customers if they speak out against the group and lose others if they don’t.
One said he went to some meetings out of curiosity but didn’t sign his name to anything. From the start, he said, he opposed the idea of forcing the county commissioners to sign onto the project or the idea of creating a list of “snitches.”
Another said he arrived at one meeting halfway through and signed a sheet of paper going around without realizing his signature would be taken as joining the movement or endorsing it.
“I’m still scratching my head on how my name ended up as being a supporter for that on the declaration that I didn’t get to read at all,” he said.
ECHO Every Child Douglas County is one of the names on Citizens Against Tyranny’s list.
ECHO Executive Director Debbie Horton said she was shocked when several people reached out to tell her the organization was on the list. She said she has no idea how Citizens Against Tyranny even got ECHO’s name.
The organization is a nonprofit and can’t be involved in political activity, she said.
“We’ve sent them emails. We spent all day yesterday trying to get our name off the list,” she said Friday.
“It has nothing to do with what we do. We simply, solely support children in foster care,” she said.
Jack Trowbridge, owner of Great Northern Trailer Works in Sutherlin, said he did sign up for the group after state Sen. Dallas Heard reached out to him about it. But he said he made the mistake of not actually reading the group’s declaration.
“We support our friends who are in the restaurant business and in the gym business, and we are against the lockdowns that have hurt their businesses,” he said.
“However, we do not support recalling the commissioners. We do not support recalling the sheriff or the DA. And we definitely do not support singling out senior citizens who may or may not have called in a report,” he said.
Basco Logging also appears on the list. President Juan Yraguen said he signed the list because he does oppose tyranny.
He said both the governor’s mandates and a growing trend of censorship of conservative views are tyrannical.
However, he said he does hope the group stops posting names of alleged “snitches.”
That’s because right off the bat, the first two women identified by Citizens Against Tyranny weren’t properly vetted, he said.
“If that’s all the better it can be managed then don’t even do it, because you’re just harming yourself at that point and serving no purpose,” he said.
He does oppose people reporting small businesses to the state.
“If you’re a snitch and you’re playing that game, you don’t have to go to Casey’s and eat. Just don’t go, OK, but you have no business doing the governor’s bidding to work against those people who are just trying to make a living,” Yraguen said.
Aimee Jones, chairperson of Citizens Against Tyranny, said Saturday in a written statement said the group is disappointed that a small number of businesses have requested their names removed from the community support list, but they fully understand and have removed the names.
“It’s unfortunate that several influential people in our community are currently engaging in a full-scale distortion and public shaming campaign against our community of small businesses and our employees. They have now successfully intimidated some who need this support into removing their names from our list to avoid further public persecution,” Jones said.
Jones said that the two seniors whose names were posted on the group’s website as having allegedly reported businesses to OSHA were posted by accident and without the approval of the board.
“Those names were removed immediately after our group became aware of the mistake,” she said.
Jones is the owner of Blended Main Street Eatery in Myrtle Creek. Restaurants have been among the hardest-hit businesses under the governor’s mandates.
“Many of us have not been allowed to earn incomes for a better part of a year and now we are being told by some in our community that we should be publicly scorned and oppressed for even trying to band together in an effort to simply survive,” she said.
“In spite of the political style character assassination effort we are enduring, we will continue to promote the truth of who we are and what we stand for which is freedom and service for the benefit of our entire community,” she said.
She said the group’s primary goal is to raise funds through private charity so it can help businesses reopen and stay open “so their families both business and employees can have hope for the future.”