'Just a bunch of dudes walking across the bridge wearing camo'
PORTLAND, Ore. - It's a scene that practically defines the phrase "keep Portland weird."
Portland police shut down the Burnside Bridge on Wednesday evening and detained 13 bearded men who said they were headed to a photo shoot to raise money for breast cancer research Wednesday evening.
The problem was the men were wearing camo and witnesses said one had a rifle.
According to spokesman Robert King, police received a report that a man on the bridge had an assault rifle. Officers shut down the bridge just after 7:30 p.m. while they investigated.
Police released a 9-1-1 call from a concerned person who first reported the men with the gun and camo gear.
"I saw two guys, white guys, with beards come out of a car with an assault rifle," the caller told the 9-1-1 dispatcher. | Click the "play" button next to "listen" to hear the 9-1-1 call
Police soon found the bearded men, many of whom wore military style uniforms. One of the men had an assault rifle, King said. They were taken to the Central Precinct.
It's unclear if the assault rifle was loaded.
Several of the men told KATU News they were on their way to take a photo under the "Portland, Oregon" sign near the Burnside Bridge to raise money for breast cancer research. The men said the photo was going to be part of a Beards for Breasts calendar.
"It's from Seattle," said Jedediah Aacker. "This girl, Sugar June, does it. She puts together a calendar for all the beard clubs around the nation. Beards for breasts."
Someone called police when they saw one of the men holding a rifle on the bridge.
"We were wearing camo gear and stuff walking up to do the shoot and sure enough police show up, boom, arrested us," said Aacker. "We were just a bunch of dudes walking across the bridge wearing camo getting rad."
King said two of the men were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for handling the rifle.
On Thursday, police sent out pictures of the gear they seized from the men. It included a military vest, bandolier, rifle, helmet and other camo gear.
The men told KATU there were 10 of them. Police said 13 were detained.
The bridge was opened at around 8:15.
"We didn't mean to shake up the community or shut down the Burnside Bridge," said Matthew Jenkins. "Just trying to save boobs, you know?"
If Jedediah Aaker looks familiar, it's because he's in a video for a certain TV show that parodies eccentric Portlanders.