(Update: Adding video, comments from rally organizers and attendees)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- One year ago, violent protesters entered the U.S. Capitol, forcing members of Oregon’s congressional delegation and many others to flee to safety.
On Thursday in downtown Bend, people gathered for what they called a “vigil for democracy.”
Lauren Spector, a member of the Indivisible Group, said what happened at the Capitol was disgusting.
“What happened last year was deplorable, it was horrible. And I don’t want to see that again,” Spector said.
Chris Gardner, the rally organizer and a member of Vocal Seniority, said the fear of Jan. 6 overcame the hope the day was supposed to bring.
“So that assault on the very mechanisms of our government was a direct dagger at the heart of our democracy,” Gardner said.
Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a candidate for the newly drawn Fifth Congressional District, said the issue shouldn’t be partisan.
“This should not be a controversial issue, this should be something we can all agree on,” McLeod-Skinner said.
The group's Vocal Seniority and Indivisible Bend organized the rally as a way to express their objection to the January 6th events, and their support of the democratic process.
“Democracy is simply the guaranteeing of equal access and equal effect to each and every citizen's vote,” Gardner said. “Anything that works against that is anti-democratic.”
McLeod-Skinner added, “The peaceful transfer of power that has defined our nation since its beginning. And the fact we are no longer there is frightening.”
The biggest theme of the rally was to “save our democracy” and to “save the right to vote.”
However, a small group of people were on hand who expressed they’re not with those groups, but declined to go on camera for an interview.
Some cars drove by and honked in solidarity, while others drove by chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” or “**** Joe Biden.”
However, the rally remained peaceful.
McLeod-Skinner said events like the Capitol insurrection take away America's credibility in the world.
“I’ve lived and worked overseas, and I’ve seen failed democracies, and it's terrifying -- and never thought we’d see it here, but it's here now,” Mcleod-Skinner said.
She said she hopes people in all political parties can agree on this one.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., issued a statement Thursday on the anniversary of the attack, calling on lawmakers to pass legislation "to combat a rising wave of attacks on voting rights and election integrity." Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., made similar comments on the Senate floor.