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Peace Elves on the Bridge

The Peace Elves were born on the Burnside Bridge in mid-December 2001. During morning rush hour our group of five stood at intervals, Burma Shave fashion, holding signs that said: IMAGINE/ALL THE PEOPLE/LIVING LIFE/IN PEACE/[PEACE SYMBOL]. In honor of the holiday season, we wore red and green striped hats with elf ears - so we called ourselves Elves.
We were looking for a creative way to bring a message of peace to the public. Many of the Elves had been involved in peace activism since 9/11, and we felt compelled to do some form of action besides the usual protest or rally - an action that would reach large numbers of people and that required minimal resources and organization (and no meetings!). We thought it was important to convey a hopeful and positive message to counteract the campaign of fear and terror that the Bush administration has launched through its puppet media.

The response to our first Elf outing was overwhelmingly positive - honking horns, smiles, thumbs up, thank you's (usually yelled by passing bikers), two-fingered peace signs, and the occasional clapping hands or hands in Namaste. Okay, so a few, obviously very unhappy men gave us the finger. But what was so surprising - and what has kept us going for two months now - is seeing just how many people out there are happy and grateful to see a pro-peace message. And I'm not just talking about the long-haired hippies in VW vans - I'm talking about bus drivers, truck drivers, business people in expensive cars, people with American flags waving off their antennae - all kinds of people.

We have a core group of three Peace Elves who have been on the bridge since the beginning, and about a dozen altogether, who show up when they can. We've been on seven different Portland bridges, and have made appearances at Saturday Market and on Airport Way. We go out three or four times a week, usually from 8:00 to 9:00 am. Next week we're doing our first late-day rush hour outing (now that the evenings are light enough to make that possible). Messages currently in circulation are: Peace/Is/Every/ Step; I/Have/A Dream/Today/Peace; War/Is Not/the Answer/Only Love/Can Conquer/ Hate; and The Best/Things/In Life/Are Free/Peace.

The pro-war propaganda tells us that 90-something percent of the population is really psyched about Bush's so-called War on Terror. My experience on the bridge tells me otherwise.

New Peace Elves are always welcome. Email peaceelf@yahoo.com to find out where and when.

WOW! 08.Aug.2002 22:06


To all the protestors a bit of advice,

"We are here united in love,
our cause is great for our faith is strong,
maybe someday we will realize even though we protest,
the world will never 'all just get along',

dear protestors: the solution is simple to end all your
it starts with a foot, gently placed on the edge,
we hope that you'll jump, the bottom's not far,
in the mighty Willamette for your body we'll dredge,

if you are lucky a funeral will follow,
your loved ones, to your forehead will offer a kiss,
but from us you'll get just one expected response,
yes, that's right a face full of piss.