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RIP Roger

Roger Troen
Roger Troen, a long time animal activist in the Portland area, died April 23. He will be missed.

Roger's Memorial Service 25.Apr.2008 18:28

A Friend

A memorial service will be held for Roger on Wednesday, April 30, 10 AM at the Metropolitan Community Church of Portland located at 2400 N.E. Broadway.
Those who knew Roger are also encouraged to use this site to share their memories, thoughts and stories of him.

Goodbye, Roger 25.Apr.2008 21:18

A fellow protester

Roger Troen put the 'active' in activist. He never gave up, he never stopped believing that we would make a difference and bring about change for the animals. His voice was always heard above everyone else at protests, no one would ever call him the 'strong, silent type'. He had something to say and he wanted to make sure he was heard. Goodbye, Roger. You gave your all to the animals who you so loved and protected.

you will be missed but never forgotten 29.Apr.2008 13:15

a friend

Roger Troen
January 17, 1931 April 23, 2008

I am sad to share the news that the animal rights community has lost a pillar and pioneer. Roger Troen, a long-time animal activist in the Portland area, died last Wednesday of a heart ailment.

He left behind some beloved companions, described at the bottom of this message, who now need new loving homes. Please pass this message on to anyone who might help with that effort.

There is a memorial service at the Metropolitan Community Church, NE 24th & Weidler St., this Wednesday, April 30th at 10am where he was a long time member.

Roger was always gently (and at times, not so gently) nudging his pastor and church community towards recognizing the suffering of all animals. He even staged a demonstration of sorts during a service, turning is back to the pastor with a duct taped mouth when his repeated requests to simply light a candle during the ceremony for the animals went unfulfilled. He often confided in me his plan to have a dozen friends all attend the same service with him in a show of support for the animals.

Among the animals he championed was the oft-maligned rat, and it wasn't just their reputation that he was known for saving. At one point in his life Roger was caring for 87 rats all at once, all rescued from Multnomah County Animal Control! He even had a cartoon of himself titled Roger Raton and was once published in Willamette Week, a short piece titled, "Why you should give a rat's ass," after WW had published an account of someone who didn't. A lesson from Roger; there is no such thing as a generic rat. Each is unique.

Roger worked tirelessly to try to reform the county's animal control and routinely transported death row cats and other animals to the safety of foster homes. Unapologetically outspoken for animals, Roger had a unique and appropriately urgent approach when it came to doing outreach. His dedication and empathy for the monkeys at the Oregon Primate Center make it apropos that he died during World Week for Animals in Labs.

Roger was a prolific writer, and between his local typewritten newsletter, and documents he saved over the years, he likely has the most complete chronicle of Portland's animal rights history, and all without the use of a computer!

Possibly Roger's best-known escapade for the animals was his participation in a daring and successful animal liberation from the University of Oregon years back, which was later described in Ingrid Newkirk's book "Free the Animals." His adventure brought him the unwanted attention of the legal system when a veterinarian who was treating a rabbit he had rescued, noticed the lab tattoo in the bunnies ear.

As one friend recalls:

"Roger once rescued and paid for surgery for a kitten abandoned by its owner. The owner didn't want to afford the cost of surgery to remove a penny the kitten had swallowed and was scheduled to be killed. Roger adopted the kitten, paid the about $1000 for the surgery, then in amusement promptly named the kitten Penny. He valued money only in its ability to save lives..."

"... Above all Roger was completely unaffected, optimistic in the face of defeat, and absolutely candid and unapologetic about any supposed transgression from your point of view. I got really irritated with him one day. We were trying to get the required number of signatures for a shelter reform initiative on a deadline. He got distracted by something else; I am sure something far more interesting. He was wholly unapologetic and at the same time never lost his equanimity or good cheer... . just got called away by another muse that day."

"... There is no way really to replace him. When I lost faith he brought it back. I don't know who will do that now. He was in fact and deed a maverick version of a Mormon. Always a missionary with a vision, he believed in eternal life and that our lives in the present were just one page along an eternal path. Perhaps that is partly where his optimism came from, that no one act or loss was the end."

"... He had earned the highest of accolades: he was a person of integrity."

Another friend writes:

"I can still clearly picture Roger at local demonstrations, neatly dressed as always in a sports coat, trying to all passers-by with every fiber of his body & soul to change their ways. He never gave an inch, never compromised his ideals, and never gave up fighting for the animals.

Roger was real fire-brand out on the streets, but a warm & sentimental guy when surrounded by his loved ones at home. They broke the mold when they made this guy- and I will certainly miss his passion for the cause and the sense of mission he brought to the Portland activist scene."

The animal family left behind

Roger left behind a beloved family of companion animals, and unfortunately his partner Steve, is not able to stay in their home, and therefore must find new, loving homes for most of the animals.

Tanner, Roger's 8 year old chow/collie dog.
Roger liberated Tanner from dismal existence on a chain. In a true showing of Roger's character, he refused to give up on this dog, even when he bit the hand that fed him. Of all the members of Roger's family in need of a home, Tanner is the most special case and will need a very special guardian to take over his care. Someone who can be a firm but benevolent alpha presence, and keep Tanner safe from his fear of strangers that has historically gotten him into trouble.

In addition to Tanner, these are the animals in need of homes that Steve referenced:

Hildegard, an 8 to 9 year old female small short haired cream colored shepherd mix who slept with Roger on his bed.

4 cats-- I know one is a tortoise short hair cat and another a black and white tuxedo from a picture of the pit bull, Hildegard and the two cats sleeping on the bed together.

2 rats-- one buff and one hooded.

If you would like to consider fostering, adopting, or just want to see pictures and learn more about Roger's family members, please contact me at  matt@idausa.org or 503-249-9996

Roger will live on in our memories, especially during World Week for Animals in Labs.

Thanks for the memories 02.May.2008 15:55

also a friend

Another friend,
What a beautiful and moving tribute to Mr. Troen. Thanks for sharing your personal memories and times of him with us.

Save Roger's files 03.May.2008 11:14

Amazed by them

Please don't throw away Roger's files. Does someone in Portland have a garage or spare room where the file cabinents can be kept? It is too soon to second-guess history about what might be important. Find a place to store them. The guy was an archivist extrordinaire.