Today, Sept 24th was a regional Old Growth Forest Action Day with actions in Eugene, Olympia, Portland, Ashland and Roseburg. Here in Portland, activists gathered at Waterfront Park for a rally and then a march to the Forest Service Building to present a letter of demands to the Forest Service. |
The rally was kicked off by music. Though the weather was rainy, the spirits were bright and enthusiastic. There were 75 people along with some colourful costumes and signs.
There were a number of speakers, one of whom was a representative from a company committing to stop buying old growth wood.
A more appropriate name for the forest service.
The activists on stilts made a festive sight that caught the eye of many passers by as they marched to the forest service building and stood outside the doors.
The mood was determined and friendly. There were a large contingent of police at both the rally and march numbering about 20. Though they were calm, generally pleasant and did not disrupt the event, this is still way too many police for such a simple and peaceful event. The police also followed closely behind people as they left the event which is unnecessary and invasive. Nevertheless, people were focussed on the issues of old growth logging and made their point very well.
One of the signs the green forest dwellers held up to the forest service windows.
View from across the street as people listened to speakers in front of the forest service building
Green was the colour of the day
One of the costumes created for the event
Various people spoke passionately about forest issues and about the beauty and spiritual value they see in a healthy old growth forest. There is a magic in the old trees, and sense of silent and immanent presence. There is a living sentience in the forest which teaches and guides us. The trees are truly our elders, and without them we are terribly diminished.
A long time forest activist carried a thoughtful sign.
One man went to the door to deliver a letter stating the demands for the forest service which were to cancel all Mt Hood timber sales, no new timber sales in forest ecosystems 80 years and older, cancel all salvage rider and replacement volume sales and no anti-environmental riders on any congressional bills.
Not only were all but one door locked, but there were a number of police inside. Perhaps they were there to keep the forest service people in line.
A telling moment, as the forest service and the police are behind locked doors, and both people are hardly able to hear each other speak through the barrier.
An armed group of 4 officers escorts the forest service representative out to receive the letter. Noting that they have him surrounded, one might wonder whether they are concerned that he might escape and join the activists.
With some short discussion, the letter changes hands and after a few announcements, people departed. .