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Surprise Treesit; Five arrested at University of Portland anti-Bush press conference

Today at the University Of Portland myself, some corporate media, and a few other indymedia journalists went out to cover the event. Before the press conference could start though the director of security for the University of Portland ordered that the lawn everyone was standing on were to move so it could be mowed. An interesting tactic if I do say so which bothered the hell out of the corporate media because after that they all had to cram onto the sidewalk, battling for space among themselves.

Five wonderful speeches were given to denounce George W. Bush and his visit to Oregon to promote his "healthy forest initiative." Among Them were CFA, PPRC, Code Pink, and the Portland Alliance to name a few. To our surprise, the Portland Police, and the University of Portland Security patrolling the area, a tree-sit was well underway. After the press conference a banner drop was held from a tree one block south of the main entrance to the University of Portland on N Portsmouth.

Police (ten officers in all including U of P security) began to tape off the area with crime scene tape to block off any pedestrian traffic from entering the immediate area around the tree-sit. Slowly but surely after it was announce the tree-sitters began to lower their belongings, bag after water bottle. Police then took their things and put them into their police cars. [ Read more... ]

update: Two of Tuesday's U of P arrestees released

Transcript of CFA speech
The stated goal of George Bush's visit here in Portland is to tout his so-called Healthy Forest Initiative. Taking advantage of a national tragedy, President Bush unveiled the so-called "Healthy Forest Initiative (HFI), at the peak of the 2002 wildfires in Southern Oregon. The HFI uses fire, or more accurately the threat of fire, as a smokescreen to give the logging industry increased access to our national forests. The initiative removes environmental protections provided by NFMA, NEPA and the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, as well as state and regional conservation plans. In the name of fire prevention, the HFI prevents citizens from challenging logging and other destructive projects on land managed by both the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The HFI represents one of the greatest threats to our national Forests since the infamous 1995 Salvage Rider that opened millions of acres of national forestland to logging.

The scandal of the HFI is that the Forest Service authorizes logging in remote, in tact forests in one area to pay for the thinning of fire prone forests in other areas. In short, the Forest Service is cutting, intact, naturally fire resistant forests that have long been coveted by the timber industry to pay for "fuel reduction" near fire prone communities. [ Read more... ]

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