On Friday, May 25 at 12 Noon, Cascadia's Ecosystem Advocates (CEA), Cascadia Forest Defenders (CFD) and the UO's Forest Action held a citizen demonstration outside two Eugene Market of Choice stores (29th/Willamette and Coburg Road) to urge Market of Choice to stop banking with Umpqua Bank, whose board of directors is responsible for clearcutting and herbiciding hundreds of thousands of acres of Oregon's forests.
Despite Market of Choice's green, eco-friendly image, by continuing to bank with Umpqua Bank, they are complicit in the destruction of Oregon's precious forests and watersheds.
The demonstration called attention to the recent release of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's "Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl," which states that spotted owl numbers are still severely declining due to past and present native forest logging.
Demonstrators, one dressed as a Market of Choice employee, entered the Coburg Road store holding a platter filled with a fleshlike-substance with feathers on top and a toothpick pierced through, with a sign reading: "Free Spotted Owl Sampler Plate" and offering them to Market of Choice customers inside the store, to the delight of customers and employees.
Police were called to the Coburg Road store, where demonstrators were removed from the premises and threatened with arrest if they set foot back on the property. The demonstration continued outside the store.
Two demonstrators were told they were "permanently banned" from every Market of Choice store in Eugene and would be immediately arrested if caught on the premises.
Members of CEA and CFD held a 9 foot banner outside of both stores reading "Save Oregon's Ancient Forests: Boycott StUmpqua Bank," as well as other signs and passed out leaflets to Market of Choice customers (on tree free, sugar cane paper) calling attention to Market of Choice's "poor choice" of banking with Umpqua, which has direct ties to an industry that is responsible for the extinction of the northern spotted owl, the poisoning and siltation of watersheds, and increasing global warming (1/3 of human-caused carbon emissions comes from logging- UN, NASA)
Leaflets asked customers to call Market of Choice and urge the Market to do the right thing by withdrawing all accounts from Umpqua Bank and placing them in an environmentally responsible local bank. Postcards addressed to Market of Choice owner, Mr. Wright, were passed out as well as brochures explaining Umpqua Bank's ecocidal practices.
Contact information was exchanged with Market of Choice managers, and demonstrators were assured that a statement would be issued from Market of Choice.
Umpqua Bank board of directors includes: Allyn Ford, CEO of Roseburg Lumber; Dan Giustina, CEO of Giustina Resources; and Lynn Herbert, CEO of Herbert Lumber.
Shannon Wilson, Co-Director of Cascadia's Ecosystem Advocates (CEA), says: "CEA has contacted Market of Choice owner Mr. Wright numerous times over the last five years about their support of the destruction of Oregon's forests by banking with Umpqua. The environmentally-aware Market of Choice customers would be appalled if they knew of the Market's support of the devastation of Oregon's quality of life. This Friday, customers learned the truth."