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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 11, 2005 3:28 AM. The previous post in this blog was Meditation of the Day. The next post in this blog is Oregon: We're goofy out here. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Friday, November 11, 2005

A troublemaker leaves town

Self-proclaimed hippie lawyer Alan Graf, who has spent more than a decade busting the chops of the Portland police and other figures of authority, has announced that he's leaving Portland in a couple of months. He's heading off to Tennessee to live on a commune -- the milieu from which he came to Portland many years ago to attend law school here.

Graf's numerous projects on the Rose City leftie scene have included an active role in the local National Lawyers Guild chapter; lawsuits, protests, and lobbying against police overrreaching and in favor of greater citizen review powers; a talk show on KBOO radio known as "Law Squawk"; and loads of miscellaneous efforts on behalf of people who have little or no money to pay for the services of an attorney. He won a big case against the Portland police stemming from the pepper-spraying of protesters at various anti-W. street scenes in 2002 and 2003. And he and his Northwest Constitutional Rights Center were recently honored by the state's trial lawyers, who bestowed on Graf their annual Arthur H. Bryant Public Justice Award.

For a paying job, he's done a lot of work on Social Security issues, representing folks whose benefit claims in the Social Security system have needed attention. Graf is the co-author of the Oregon State Bar book entitled "Perfecting Your Social Security Claim," a useful primer on Social Security law.

That's not all he's written. He's got his life story, and lots more, posted on his website ( in a section called "I Inhaled." Passages like these could keep me busy for hours:

Recently, here in Portland, an activist was there with a camera, at the right place and the right time. A demonstration in support of Mumia Abdul Jamal was just winding down. This is the time in a protest, when the cops are likely to create the most mischief. The cops had just arrested one protestor who wandered off by himself for littering, that is, the protestor dropped a flower on the pavement. The Portland mounted police, surrounded this "heinous criminal" and dragged him off to jail to protect the community against such further aggression. A fellow standing by went over to question the actions of the cops. Big mistake. The mounties surrounded this second fellow and suddenly a cop on foot, sprinted from behind and grabbed this fellow's arm and twisted him to the ground.

In the process, the cop broke the protestor's arm in what is termed a spiral fracture. That's when the bones twist like a twig and snap in multiple places. The protestor screamed in pain and the cop grabbed him by the arm that was broken and dragged him off to the local dungeon.

Guess what? Some alert soul, got the whole thing on video. Unfortunately, that is the kind of stuff that you want to capture. In order to do that, you have to basically follow the cops and get a feel for which cops are the most likely to do that sort of sh*t.

If you are a protestor and you get arrested, do not resist, actively or passively. First, as the Borg once said (or will say), resistance is futile. This guys are bigger, stronger, more hopped up on testosterone, and have guns and other weapons which they won't hesitate to use, if given the excuse. Give them your name, and not anything else. Ask to call your lawyer. And write your lawyers name on your arm in indelible ink. It may be the most important thing you ever did. I guarantee that jail or prison is not a picnic. I don't care what some folks say about it being a spiritual experience. If you want a spiritual experience, go out to the woods, the trees are a hell of a lot gentler than a corrections officer.

* * * * *

We was headed towards the city, hitchhiking in from the Island.

It was me and Anne and my guitar. We hopped a ride from a friendly hippy type dude in a VW bug, Anne getting in the front and me in the back with guitar on my lap. We started to drive and suddenly this car comes out of this street all unexpected and slam, the car hits us and the next thing I know I am lying there in the back of the car and a cop is peering into the window of the VW. He looks at me and says "got any drugs on you?"---Well, I don't know why he would say such a thing. After all just because my hair was half way down my back and I had a shirt on with a big serpent in the middle of it and boots up to my knees and beads on my head and around my neck and a guitar on my lap---- its a wonder that this officer would ask me if I had some drugs on me, as I was bleeding to death internally, because my spleen had just exploded from the impact of my guitar hitting it. So, I was lying there dying and I said-"no, I don't" and he turned away to check something out which later turned out to be the driver who had flown out the window of the car and landed about twenty feet from the car.

So, suddenly this thought occurs to me, "sh*t, I do have some acid in my pocket." So I painfully reach into my pocket and throw a couple of hits of good blotter out the window. I then pass out and wake up in the hospital where this doctor is asking me if he has permission to operate on me. I say "yes" and pass out again. Turns out, they had to remove my spleen, drain out all the blood, sew me up and cut me open again when the first operation didn't work. It was nip and tuck there for a while. But hey, once they got me out of the operating room, they put me into intensive care with all sorts of tubes and wires coming out of me. But every now and then when I would regain consciousness, I would find out some really cool things, like the guy next to me in intensive care had been stepped on by an elephant, so I didn't have it too bad after all.

For the amount of acid I had been taking and the lack of care I had been giving my body, my recovery was pretty remarkable. Once I decided I wanted to get out of that damn hospital, I was able to leave about two weeks later after the accident. You know I was pretty close to death, but during those times, I don't remember ever feeling worried or panicky that my end was near. It might have been the drugs.

Graf has been in the middle of some nasty battles over the years. But as far as I can see he has stayed cool, treated everyone with respect, and retained his marvellous sense of humor through it all.

People like this don't show up in Portland every day. We'll be poorer, if perhaps a bit calmer, without him.

Comments (6)

This is payback from having to sit through his tax class for one semester.

The Bill Maher of tax law--We used to call him Professor Bagwan back in 91.

Thanks Jack for the kudos--I will miss you and Portland dearly



I remember you from L&C Law. You were always the one that 'wanted' to be called on. I always admired that fearlessness. Congrats for all you've done and thank you for your contribution to our city!

You leave us at the mercy of the local thugs, Alan. Reconsider!

Oh yes, Alan, I worry about Portland now that you are leaving, but Tennessee is waiting and we will give you lots of interesting problems to solve. Can't wait, bro! love,Eliz

That is a sweeet story I read-that hl is going to Tennesse to marry his old flame. Godspeed. Portland will be OK; it looks like the new crop of law students is ready and willing to fight.

Alan, you will be missed. Godspeed [or whatever it is you trust upon]. You made Portland a better place.


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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
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Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
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Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
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Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
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Conundrum, White 2013
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Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
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David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
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Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
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Keith Richards - Life
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Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
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William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
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Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
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David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
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Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
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Road Work

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