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Critical Mass riders experienced a great victory on their August ride. While their focus is to celebrate the use of bikes instead of cars to raise awareness for bicycle transportation, the last year has been spent fending off extreme police presence and force. The victory on Friday was a ride free of police while traveling in the Central Precinct and across to the east side. As the ride passed an officer in his squad car, he raised his hand to offer the group a peace sign. This progress came as the result of a few participants dialoguing with the police outside of rides.
Wednesday, 1:15 p.m. UPDATE: Indymedia reports from Dignity Village that the homeless community has decided to vacate their site. Some residents will be going to the city-sanctioned parcel near the airport, and others will be staying with supporters or have made other plans. Portland Police will be moving residents to the new site by bus and truck rather than arresting them. According to a statement released by Dignity Village organizers, Eccumenical Ministries of Oregon and non-profit organization City Repair will be among the groups helping residents make improvements to the city parcel. [ Statement from Dignity Village ]
Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. UPDATE: Police arrived at Dignity Village. They told residents that they must vacate the site by noon Wednesday, which is a 24-hour extension of the last deadline given by the city. Anyone still there at that time will be subject to arrest and all possessions subject to seizure. [ Read more | Analysis | Call for support ]
Tuesday, 10:00 a.m. UPDATE: Organizers at Dignity Village have received word from a source inside City Hall that the city plans to "make a sweep" of the homeless encampment between noon and 2:00 p.m. today, in order to evict the residents. Villagers are hoping that as many people as possible can come to site to show their support for their community. [ Read the appeal from Dignity Village | Suggestion to "Contact Vera Katz" ]
New IMCs were recently launched in South Africa, Portugal, and New Jersey. St. Louis, Missouri, will also soon have its own IMC. Activists in dozens of other cities worldwide are in the process of setting up still more. As this growth is occuring, Indymedia activists are creating a global decision-making process, based on months of meetings and discussions. Here in Portland, the IMC is forging ties with other alternative media organizations such as KBOO, the Alliance, the Microradio Implementation Project, and the Cascadia Media Collective, in what promises to be a long-term effort to provide truthful, non-corporate coverage of regional events and issues.
(Salem, OR)--According to the Cascadia Forest Alliance (CFA), about 30 protesters who arrived at the Salem Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office on August 29 to demonstrate against two timber auctions were met by "well over 50 heavily armed and undercover federal, state and local police officers". The auctions were for the rights to log on BLM parcels named "Rusty Saw" and "Fawn Creek", and marked the beginning of what is expected to be a flood of federal timber auctions of public land before the Federal Government fiscal year ends September 30. CFA activists erected a 25-foot high tripod structure in front of the BLM office as camouflaged snipers walked the roof of the building and a SWAT team stood guard. CFA reaffirmed its stance that "any logging of ancient forests on public lands will be met with determined non-violent civil disobedience and protest."
The east-bound sidewalk of the Hawthorne Bridge was filled for ten full minutes today by a long line of people marching in support of City of Portland employees, who are currently negotiating a new contract with the city through the District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU). Union members will be voting on the proposed contract in the next couple of weeks. While it is not known how the vote will turn out, many rank and file members are dissatisfied with the health care provisions, believing that the city should pay more than it has offered. This sentiment was expressed with the chant, "Cut the crap / Raise the cap!" A broad spectrum of labor organizations were on hand for this action, making an impressive show of solidarity with the city workers.
The Bush administration has declared that the Roadless Area Conservation Rule was made with inadequate public input, even though 600 public hearings were held throughout the nation, and the number of comments received was five times greater than on any Federal rule in US history. Ninety-Five percent of the 1.6 million official comments that led to the Roadless Area Conservation Rule favored the strongest possible protections for the remaining roadless areas in America's National Forests.
In July the Bush administration put out a new public comment period requesting answers to ten loaded questions that portend reversal of the rule and the loss of hard-won protections for America's wild forests. Oregon Natural Resource Center has made it easy to submit comments in support of roadless forest protection at the ONRC Roadless Website.
Linn and Benton County members of the Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment (ASJE), together with the Corvallis Action on Globalization (CAG), labor organizations, social services organizations and environmental groups hosted a town hall meeting on August 23rd. The purpose of this event wasto discuss the issue of Fast Track authority for President Bush and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) treaty. Events were held at the Corvallis-Benton County Library. Nearly 200 speakers participated, including the mayor of Corvallis.
Animal rights activists carried out a protest action at downtown Bank of America, 121 Morrison, on Monday, 20 August, from 11:00-1:30. This action was taken as part of a national day of protest against Bank of America's involvement with Stephens Inc., the Little Rock investment firm who bailed out Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLs) with a $33 million loan in what otherwise would have been the last hour of their existence. Monday, August 20th marked the beginning of the campaign to get the Bank of America to recall their loan and refuse future loans, which would mean the end of HLS and their animal experimentation. This action brought out about 25 activists. A video was played showing animal cruelty while people carried signs and banners, handed out hundreds of flyers, and had lively discussions with passersby and Bank of America customers. A follow-up action has already been announced.
"Fee demo" was started in 1996 as a "demonstration program" to encourage "private-public ventures" to "commercialize, privatize and motorize" recreational opportunities on our nation's public lands, at the urging of private recreation industry, particularly the American Recreation Coalition (ARC). This situation is part of a general trend of privatizing public services that has been occuring during the last few presidential administrations, and the present Bush administration is in full support of it.
After five years, fee demo has proven to be a failure, at least for the purposes that Congress and the American public were told it would serve. Yet the legislation may be extended another four years this September.
Economics of Fee Demo
Ironically, although this "demonstration fee" is supposed to show how many Americans support the user fees, there is no tally of how many people refuse to pay the fees or who have stopped visiting pay-to-play forests. Essentially, each forest pass purchased is a vote for fee-demo and the money collected is used as evidence that the program has been successful in raising revenues and should therefore be made permanent.
Quartz Timber Sale on the Auction Block
Species known or suspected to be present, and that may be irreversibly impacted by this sale, intended to clearcut 130 acres and remove 17 million board feet, include populations of coho salmon, steelhead, cutthroat trout, and Northern Spotted Owl. The Astoria District has 520 miles of silt-depositing roads presently degrading salmon habitat and fragmenting wildlife corridors. The sale area is on 947 acres.
The clearcut logging of 52 acres for the 9 miles of road will begin before the Northern Spotted Owl Surveys are complete. ODF's own studies admit that the number of owl pairs in the north Coast Range west of Portland fell by 60 percent from 1994 to 1999, possibly the sharpest decline documented in a single population.
Read the update on the ODF auction of this sale involving over 1000 acres of public land in the Tillamook State Forest, and how the public can still comment on the 10-year forest plan that would allow more of the same by clicking on the "Quartz Auction Update" below.
On Thursday, 16 August, about 50 people gathered for a visibility action to demand that Representative Earl Blumenauer vote "no" on Fast Track and FTAA legislation. A Fast Track vote was scheduled in Congress last month, but was put off because of citizen pressure. The organizers delivered anti-Fast Track post cards to Blumenauer's office before the action, and discussed the issue with his staff. Blumenauer has been a sworn "free-trader" in his voting record until recently, when he abstained from a Fast Track vote.
After delivering the postcards, citizens took to the intersection of Grand and Morrison during rush hour with signs, banners, and noise, to expose the Fast Track and FTAA issues to commuters. Organizers declared the event a success.
PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste), the Oregon Farmworker Union, declared a partial victory today outside the offices of a Monumental Life Insurance subsidiary on SE Stark Street. The union, which battles for basic labor rights for agricultural workers in the state, has been pressuring Pictsweet Mushrooms to recognize its workers' desire to unionize. PCUN recently widened the scope of its campaign to include Pictsweet's financial partners, including Monumental Life Insurance and its AEGON subsidiaries, which have $21 million invested in Pictsweet. Organizers had planned actions in different cities across North America on Thursday, the 16th, but late on Wednesday the company agreed to meet with PCUN representatives at its home office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The planned protest in Portland became a declaration of partial victory.
On Thursday, August 16th, the Community Cycling Center (CCC) visited two migrant camps to distribute bicycles to families living there. With volunteer support, the Community Cycling Center, whose mission involves recycling bikes, reaching kids and restoring communities, fixed up donated bikes to bring out to the migrant camps. They taught recipients how to fix a flat tire, properly fit a helmet and how to perform a basic safety check.
Landowners typically charge a transportation fee to workers. Because they earn so little for all the work they do, being able to possibly cut out transportation costs will give the migrant workers a greater sense of sustainability. Even though they only distributed 13 bikes this year, CCC Latino Outreach Coordinator Sarah Bentley says it's about more than just donating bikes. She hopes that this effort, which gained the attention of several media outlets, will raise awareness for the need to donate food and clothing to migrant workers as well. Next year they will work with as many organizations as possible to try to provide bikes on a regular basis.
Local activists held a picket line outside of Terminal 6 of the Port of Portland today for almost 12 hours in order to prevent an Italian ship from being unloaded. They undertook this action to protest the violent and inhumane tactics employed by Italian police during the recent anti-G8 protests in Genoa, Italy. The workers at Terminal 6 are organized under the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and so would not cross the picket. This interruption in scheduling affected train and truck traffic in and out of the Port as well, causing thousands of dollars in lost profits. The picketers stood down for the second shift to respect the wishes of the ILWU workers who would not be paid if they couldn't work, and who were not as a whole prepared to take a stand against Italian fascism with the picketers that day. From here, the Italian ship goes to the Port of San Francisco, where more protests might be awaiting it.
UPDATE: The Italian ship was picketed at its following stop, in Oakland, early on the morning of Friday, 17 August. [ Call to action | Video | Update from late Friday night | Follow the story at Bay Area IMC ]
TRAMPLING ON CITIZEN INVOLVEMENT
Earlier this year, in response to citizen outrage over logging in Acey Line Timber Sale in the God's Valley area of the Tillamook National Forest, the ODF created a citizen group to review timber sales involving older stands of trees. The last meeting was July 26 and no one was told that logging would begin in Acey before the final review of the citizen group discussions. On August 1st, the road to Area 3 was blocked by several county sheriffs and state police. Armed law enforcement officers were seen patrolling Area 3. Citizens who attempted to go in to see what was happening were threatened with arrest. The logging was finished a few days later and on August 7, the ODF brought a carefully-selected group of media to visit the site. Greeting the media was a local woman locked to a cable across God's Valley Road holding a sign stating "God is Dead!" The media entourage had to use another road. While the ODF was showing the media the logging, a banner saying "Save God's Valley" popped up in the woods.
Citizens have snuck in to document the logging, risking arrest. They found 40 inch diameter trees cut; the contract specifies no trees greater than 32 inches diameter were to be cut. Trees with branches greater than 5 inches diameter were to be left for marbled murrelet nesting trees, but citizens found some of these cut too. These concerns were ignored by the ODF. Yarding of the trees should begin in about a week. This will cause damage to leave trees, the understory and the soil.
For more information, and how you can help with this and other timber sales that need citizen oversight, visit the BARK website, or call (503) 331-0374; email: Bark@Spiritone.com
Organizations present included PCUN, The Service Employees Union, Allied Printing & Trades Union, the Teamsters, Canadian Labor Congress, The Ontario Federation of Labor and The B.C. Government Employees Union pledged their support and expressed solidarity in the farmworker's ongoing struggle. full story | KBOO Evening News story
Farmworkers and Supporters Urged To Give Testimony:
On August 8th, US & Mexican Officials will be hearing testimony from farmworkers and supporters about workplace conditions and other issues important to trabajadores. The forum will take place at Yakima Community College starting at 9AM. For more information call the UFW at (509) 839-4903.
A Walk For Farmworker's Justice was held June 18-25 this summer. Throughout this march first hand accounts and photos were gathered on the conditions fieldworkers must work and live under. In July, Fred Meyer and Safeway implemented a boycott on Pictsweet mushrooms, responding to the labor practises found within the Pictsweet plant at Salem.
[PCUN | AFL-CIO | Canadian Labor Congress]
Approximately 200 people showed up in Pioneer Courthouse Square to express grief, anger, and determination in the aftermath of severe police repression against anti-G8 protestors in Italy. After several speeches the group marched silently up Broadway in downtown Portland to the slow beat of a drum. The police were going to give the protestors one lane of traffic but did not intervene as they took the whole street. The group carried a black coffin at its head, and held a die-in at the Oregonian and another at the Italian Consulate.
TEXT: [ Genoa Funeral Procession Report | Funeral for Carlo Giuliani in Portland | Eulogy for the Portland funeral march for Carlo and others | Analysis: "Genoa protesters seek an end to exploitation" ]
In a collective show of support for progressive political causes, some 7,500 people gathered at the Portland Rose Garden Complex August 4th to take part in a day and evening of activism-orientated workshops and speeches organized by Democracy Rising's People Have The Power Tour and the Pacific Green Party. [ Account of one of the workshops ] After the rally many signed up for local and global organizations, compaigns, and initiatives. The tables within the Rose Garden lobby were attended by many participants and flyers touching on range of issues were handed out. In contrast to the pre-rally reporting by the mass media as regards the antithapy of the public towards activism and electoral politics on a non-election year, voter registration sheets and yellow volunteer pledge forms were being filled. more | pics
Action Centers Were Unannounced / Contact Information For Local Organizations:
The post-rally Action Centers were not announced at the end of the Rose Garden Arena rally. As the speeches ended thousands of potential volunteers left without the knowledge of the informational booths hidden beneath the Rose Garden which espoused the very ideals that speaker Ralph Nader had earlier extolled the audience to become involved in. Some of the issues covered by the Action Centers were Instant Runoff Voting, Police Accountability 2002, FTAA and Fast Track, Campaign Finance Reform and many others.
A protest was organized by those who felt Nader cost Gore the election. pics | protest announcement with comments
Xander Patterson, Lisa Melyan, Danny Glover, Jello Biafra, Medea Benjamin, Mark and Jason Kafoury, and Ralph Nader.
Education Centers participants and speakers
The next destination for this tour: contact www.democracyrising.org for further news.
Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment, Portland Jobs With Justice, and Portland Alliance for Democracy call for a series of actions in protest against the FTAA and Fast Track this month. Both these issues may be debated before the US senate soon, so citizens are asked to express their opinions while they still have time to do so.
Thursday, August 16th 4:30 to 6:00 - Visibility Action
Participants will be asked to surround the block around Congressman Earl Blumenauer's Portland office at Morrison, Grand, and Belmont with people and signs about stopping Fast Track, stopping the FTAA, and globalization banners. The organizers intend to send a strong message to Earl about doing the right thing on Fast Track, and to take advantage of the heavy car traffic in that area to bring awareness to the issue. Call Portland Jobs With Justice for more information 503-236-5573
Sat, August 25th 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. -"Cookies for Calls' Mobile Call-In Center against Fast Track
On the corner 37th and Hawthorne (at the Bagdad) passers-by will be asked to call their Congress people to vote no against Fast Track. Cell-phones, people, and cookies will be needed. Call Patrick Leet (503-620-7749) to donate a phone for the day, to participate with tabling, leafleting, and helping people make calls.
Saturday, September 15th 10:00 a.m. - Public Forum 'Free Trade's Dirty Little Secrets'
Sponsored by Portland Alliance for Democracy and Economic Justice Committee of First Unitarian Church Call 503-636-5049 for more info.
Local To Global list serve: get involved in organizing around corporate globalization in the Portland metro area. To join send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on FTAA and Fast Track:
[www.tradewatch.org | www.fasttrackinfo.com | www.localtoglobal.org | www.oraflcio.unions-america.com]
[Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment, 503-736-9777 | Portland Jobs With Justice, 503-236-5573 | Portland Alliance for Democracy, 503-636-5049]
Thanks to a pair of bizarre, after-the-fact stories filed by writers for the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press, Copwatch revealed that for a brief moment the citizens of Oregon were free of some narcs, only to have them reinstated before most people knew they were gone.
[ Read More ]
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