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Santa protests predatory loan business

Santa protests Rapid Cash payday loan shop on 39th and Powell, scaring off kangaroo mascot and sign waver while garnering massive support from the general public.
I had a good time this past Saturday doing a one-santa-action at the new Rapid Cash payday loan and check cashing store at 39th and Powell, former site of Dunkin Donuts. Most Saturdays and Sundays a very obnoxious fuzzy Kangaroo mascot and sign waver ("Payday Loans here!") are posted in front of the store -- that public humiliation/exploitation/advertising annoyance combined with predatory, unjust business practices and a santa suit gathering dust caused me to take action.

Santa's arrival caused the Kangaroo and sign waver to scurry inside to talk to their managers who promptly had them lie low -- I found out later that no pay was docked from them. Support from drivers was fantastic -- nearly every other car gave me a thumbs up, laughing and honking their horn...based upon this reaction, I'd say there's very strong community support for more fair and just alternatives -- in 2005, Santa will target banks, savings and loans and credit card companies....meanwhile, please call Commissioner Randy Leonard's chief of staff Ty Kovatch (503.823.3003)to tell him that you support his work to regulate / eliminate these horrible businesses that dot Powell Boulevard.

The management of the store was not too pleased with Santa. Johnny Law was summonsed, however he was unable to bust Santa as no laws were being broken. It must be noted that Santa refused to give his name or phone number because no laws were being broken and the FBI and Portland Police have a long documented history of spying on and maintaining files of activists that have broken no laws.

Within two hours the manager came out with an offer to buy Santa off. Santa refused to sign a contract promising to never come back, but did accept a crisp $100 bill to go away, and did go away, taking his sleigh to 121st and Powell, site of another Rapid Cash store....

Upon arrival, management immediately came running out the door "we just want to tell you two things Santa: We have called the police department and they are on their way. Also, you already made $100 -- we're NOT GOING TO PAY YOU ANYTHING ELSE TODAY!" . . . after chatting with the cops and confirming the legality of the protest once again I decided to call it a day however I was sure to let them know that they had not seen the last of me.

Anyone interested in helping me out with this protest? You could borrow the santa suit and sign, do your own personal random protest, or call "Rapid Cash" (503-239-5225) to voice your opposition to their newest location...

Below are some links to information about Randy Leonard's work and the state of "payday loans" in Oregon, and an interesting paper someone wrote on the subject.....

Happy Holidays!



Santa showing real courage 13.Dec.2004 21:31

red suspenders

Thank you Santa for having the guts to do this.

ahh... Eris would be proud 13.Dec.2004 22:58


This is the most entertaining, heartening news I've read all day. We need 1,000 more actions like this. :)

You aren't a Cacaphony Society member are you?

At the company Christmas party a Santa and 3 elves crashed the dance floor a couple of times, they were pretty drunk. Good stuff.

legal loan sharks 14.Dec.2004 00:11

search for blood

These legal corporate loan sharks have put my student friend into a cycle of debt and despair. The interest on these loans is higher than the old school mafia legbreakers, instead of sticks these legal goons use collection agencies and garnished wages. They are so rude, insulting and aggressive over the phone i became so upset that i thought would end up in jail for assault (or worse). This would only encourage them, so i kept my cool. Their tactics of harrassment are beyond threats and instigation..

These bloodthirsty greedy goons give true sharks of the sea who kill for survival a bad name. Truly a low point for humanity when legal loan sharks get away with taking advantage of people in dire economic circumstances..

great reporting, thanks! 14.Dec.2004 01:10

regular reader

i love reading indymedia. stories like this aren't anywhere else. and it's always better to hear someone tell it themselves, rather than reading someone else's account where you need to read between the lines. thanks, jeff! for acting, and for posting!

missed you 14.Dec.2004 07:32


Kudos! Wish I'd seen you. I did see another santa suit down the street at another loan shark around 30th and powell, exhorting people to use their service. Bad Santa!
I wish all the good santas in portland would do this to every one of those miserable bloodsuckers who've made powell their home.

don't feed the sharks 14.Dec.2004 07:48


always much love for indy media keeping up...

yeah they're sharks yet people paddle out with hooked fishy food from their pocket books. your "student friend" got them self in debt. "old school" mafia (sicilia) had their place, keeping in line the peasants and landowners, collecting what was owed them, the land and landless! are they bloodthirsty, yep, this is business though, don't take it personal.

as the system has injected itself into the movement so the movement may want to inject itself into the system. take it over from the inside, like lovely ravaging your lover, live love.

Thanks from a neighbor 14.Dec.2004 11:31

Richmond resident

It's great you did this. Rapid Cash took over from Dunkin Donuts. Accross 39th is another cash store in the minimall next to Supercuts. Not enough for you? Then stroll on down to about 34th and Powell where you'll find another. If if those three don't fit your style, there's a huge one on the corner of 33rd and Powell. And if that's not enough, there are two across from each other up Powell around 60th or so.

That's four within walking distance of my house and another two only a short jaunt away. I guess job growth is coming to Powell finally......

300% Interest, are you kidding Me? 14.Dec.2004 13:05


I think it would be a great idea to write the interest rate that they charge on the protest sign. Many do not know, but these companys charge an insane interest rate, well over 100%. Call and see exactly what it is. Sadly, people who obtain these loans are too imcompetant to understand little things such as interest. So in short, hold up a huge protest sign that says, "ONLY 300% interest, what a deal".
Good luck, if I was not so far away, I would be in line with you.

Community Credit Union to Offer Cheap PayPay Load Alternatives 14.Dec.2004 13:24


I'm not trying to plug one credit union over another, but I did notice that the community chartered credit unions are starting to try and educate people about Payday Loans and offer cheap alternatives to them to their members. For example Unitus Community Credit Union (open to anyone who lives or works in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Marion, Polk, or Yamhill counties) started offering REAL payday loans to Members December 15th. I've copied their newsletter announcement below:

So bottom line is join a credit union and never use a payday loan store like this lame outfit!



Need A Payday Loan? Here's a better way!

Need money before payday arrives? Payday loan companies typically charge exorbitant rates—some exceed
1,000% APR!—and can snare you in a vicious cycle of borrowing more to pay what you still owe. Starting December 15 the affordable alternative is an advance loan from Unitus:
•Borrow from $50 to $500
•No credit check*
•No application fee
•Fixed interest rate
•Easy repayment
•One simple application
•Helps rebuild credit
•Free seminar offered on "Understanding
Your Credit"

You must apply in person for your first advance loan. Bring these items
to any Unitus office:
•Recent pay stub or other evidence of income
•Current utility bill showing your full name and current address
•Photo identification
•Name, address, and phone number of a personal reference

Just say no to payday loans! Head to your nearest Unitus office for relief!

Good Job 14.Dec.2004 17:21

Ripped off once

I got hit by an obnoxious payday loan company when I was in my early 20's. Picked up a quick $150 and payed $600 across the next 7-8 months. What a nightmare! Good job Santa and the fact that you got an extra $100 for your efforts really made my day!

oooohhhhhhh hohohohoho!!!!! 14.Dec.2004 21:21

in debt



thank you, lone-santa activist!

keep it up santa! 14.Dec.2004 22:53


happy holidays!

Thank you for the protest 15.Dec.2004 13:41


I just had to thank you for this. I've been meaning to do something about that awful business and I'm so glad to hear about your protest. It just makes me sad when I think about that the family owned Dunkin Doughnuts that use to be there has turned into that diguesting joke of a business.

Jeff, I'll be glad to join you... 16.Dec.2004 14:12


....thank you for telling people the truth about these parasites.

I'm a bankruptcy attorney, and a number of my clients have been victimized by these companies. There's no way to escape from a cycle of debt with interest rates as high as 600%, and state regulators have not been able to regulate these companies.

It's up to regular people to dissuade people from taking out these loans by telling the truth about the usurious interest rates charged, and about how these stores are a blight on the community.

I even covered up the payday/title loan ad on my new phone book with a sticker - it now says, "Payday and Title Loans (Are a Fucking Ripoff)".