Sen. Bob Packwood dodged a crowd of about 350 protesters Friday, the largest of the groups that dogged his visit to the state last week demanding he resign over allegations of sexual misconduct.
Packwood moved a luncheon with about 60 members of the Pacific Rim Trade Assn. to Lake Oswego, about 10 miles from its original location. Protesters gathered outside the University Club downtown where the meeting had been planned.
“I think it’s a good example of his arrogance. He says he’s not answerable to the people and I guess he’s demonstrating it,” protester Victor Barnett said.
The rally was organized by Oregonians for Ethical Representation, a group trying to oust Packwood from office. Packwood, a five-term Republican, is making his first trip to Oregon since The Washington Post reported in November allegations of sexual misconduct. Ten women who worked with or for him during a 23-year period made the allegations.
Packwood apologized at a Dec. 10 news conference, but has refused to discuss the allegations, saying the matter was before the Senate ethics and rules committees.
Asked whether aides feared for his safety, chief of staff Elaine Franklin said: “No, there was fear for the safety of the groups that invited him to speak.”
Betty Roberts, former chief justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, told the crowd Packwood should resign.
“The man has no shame,” Roberts said. “He has brought ridicule to the state of Oregon.”
Opponents have spoken of organizing a recall. But legal experts have said that until Packwood comes up for reelection in 1998, only the Senate has authority under the Constitution to remove him.