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Photos from Solo auction protest, Part 1: the fun part

First batch of photos from the Solo auction protest; these are all from the protest during the auction. A second batch will document the non-violent direct action of the protesters and the violent oppressive action of law enforecement.

The auction for the Solo timber sale took place at the Mt. Hood forest service office on July 30. The sale will clear-cut 157 acres of old growth in the Oak Grove Watershed. Above, activists send a message to arriving bidders.

Activists also lined up at the entrance to the parking lot. There was no way for potential buyers to miss the opposition to the Solo sale.

Activists were loud and visible as they sent their message up to the room in the forest service office where the auction was taking place.

A funeral theme comprised part of the event.

Three Grim Reapers were in attendance.

Sarah, a volunteer with the Cascadia Forest Alliance, spoke about the struggle to save the old growth in the Northwest.

Karrie, who is with Bark, talked about their campaign.

The minimum bid for the Solo timber sale was $28,000. We passed the hat so we could send someone in to bid on it. We only collected $3. :-(

However, we were able to send one of our number into the auction to bid on behalf of The American Public. Since she had a sealed envelope, the freddies had to let her in. She was in there quite a while and told us what happened.

Inside the auction were representatives from DR Johnson, Freres, and Thomas Creek Lumber. When she first came in, the freddies wouldn't let her talk. They said it was "against the rules" for bidders to talk before the auction began. Other people were talking, however, and when she pointed this out to one of a freddy, he told her that none of them were bidders. This was a lie. When the auction began, that person was indeed one of the bidders. She was not allowed to participate as she had arrived too late.

She described the auction itself as "boring" and said she almost fell asleep. Bidding went up by 5 cent intervals. When it was over, Thomas Creek Lumber had won at $69.20 per hundred cubic feet.

Our valiant representative of The American Public then went up to the Thomas Creek guy and asked him, "Do you really feel that the air we breathe and water we drink is worth so little?"

At this point, the freddies "grabbed" her and removed her from the building.

Afterwards, when she was sitting on the ground telling me this story, one of the freddies came up and asked that she come inside so they could "document" her identity since she was one of the bidders. She told him she didn't have to do that because they hadn't let her bid so she wasn't one of the bidders. He then said they wanted to know who she represented because it was for the public record. She said, "I'm representing The American Public". He didn't buy this and kept pressing for her to come in. I pulled out my camera, and someone else came over with a video camera, and then he got nervous-looking and left.

Ya gotta watch these guys. They'll try to get you to do things you don't have to do. They'll totally trick you if they can. Don't let 'em. Know your rights. Just say no.

This was actually one of the funnest protests I've been to in quite awhile. We had regular shouts up at the auction room where we tried to be as loud as we could, and some of the forest kids stood up front and did amusing cheers.

A drum circle got going at some point, and then there was dancing. Someone had a trombone and someone else had an accordian. Some good music got made. The parking lot was transformed into a pleasant little community for a short while and it was great. Talk about being the sort of change you want to see -- this was it. Make the parking lots into dance floors. I love the forest kids!
Unfortunately, this lovely moment was only temporary. We didn't know it yet, but the freddies were about to lose their shit and attack people...