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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 28, 2006 7:11 PM. The previous post in this blog was Too many tweakers. The next post in this blog is It wasn't tweakers. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Splitsville

The nasty battle between the downtown Portland furriers and the anti-fur protesters is over. The protesters won, I guess, as the fur dealers say they are leaving town.

Where will the next battle be waged between darkness and righteousness in the Rose City? Yea, perhaps at an auto dealership?

Comments (46)

Portland proved to all outside buisnesses that they will do NOTHING to help them should they ever foolishly relocate downtown. What's next? Any food establishment that serves meat? Nordies for selling food and leather.

We need to implement Mayor Rudy's policy in NYC with regard to transients, miscrients, and protesters. Run them out of friggin' town before they destroy it.

The worst is part is that more people shop and buy these coats than protest against them over a span of a year (I'd bet they sell to more than a hundred people a year). This isn't the publics will; it's a tiny minority imposing their will.

I'm both impressed and repulsed they got them to move, it seemed unlikely. If only we could get these people to use their energy to get worthwhile causes accomplished: like creating jobs and wealth for the city.

Sorry it's a repost from another blog but I'm sort of ticked about it.

Will their public employers allow them enough vacation to bike from Bloomingville?

You bet they will.

I have a few comments and questions. The most obvious is this: if freedom of speech and assembly still mean anything--especially in the Age of Dubya, when evidently we're supposed to beg the government for permission to engage in any political speech besides displaying "Support the Troops" stickers--what precisely was wrong with the protests on the sidewalk in front of Schumacher Furs? Obviously if the protestors were blocking customers or creating a safety hazard--say, forcing pedestrians out into the street--that would be a problem, but assembling and speaking on a public right of way? I'm kind of guessing that similar "rules of engagement" have applied to the Schumacher Furs situation as to anti-abortion protests at women's health clinics.

I happened to see the Fur Friday protest just a few days ago. Sure, the protestors were loud, but frankly I saw a lot of smiles on their faces and didn't hear anyone screaming abuse. There were at least as many police officers on the block as there were protestors. I wonder whether all those police officers were really needed to deter property damage.

As for the claim that the city somehow "proved to all...businesses" that it doesn't care about them, this seems like a bit of a stretch.

Democracy is messy. Autocracy is a lot tidier.

Lin Qiao is right. If we can't let a boisterous crowd of animal rights advocates determine what kind of clothes that Portlanders should buy, the whole democratic experiment is bound to fail.

That corner location would be great for a "drop-in" clinic for tweakers and heroin addicts.

Or maybe a cat & dog motel for the homeless kitties/canines after a cold wet day sp'anging outside Mother Goose and Nordstroms. It's not their fault they're homeless!

Stand for Kitties.

There is little comparison (if any) to protesting a completely legal business endeavor and a war that involves the entire country of Iraq. This isn’t the civil rights movement either.

There is also no need to get all free speech about it. The protesters could have come out once a month instead of every sat. giving shoppers time to shop without being told they are akin to Sam the Butcher. Besides in 1776 people didn’t protest fur, most of them wore it.

Furthermore, the protests have accomplished nothing as fur demand is way up around the globe. Also, as Jack pointed out it opens a Pandora’s Box to demand things we find distastefully be removed from our city.

"accomplished nothing as fur demand is way up around the world"

Well, maybe the protesters are not very interested in changing buyer behavior... maybe they just like to protest things and make their statement, which they made quite effectively.

Free speech means that if you don't like somebody else, you can shout 'em out of town...kinda like the guys in white sheets a hundred years ago, only different.

Yes, it's the free market at work. And yes it can suck for those at the losing end of it. If the Schumachers couldn't convince enough people to buy fur in the face of protests, well, then, they didn't have a very solid business model did they?

And let's be clear, no one has *forced* anyone to do anything in this case. No one forced people to not buy fur. No one is forcing Schumachers to move (unless it's the building owner).

While it would have been interesting (to me) to see a mediation (which the Schumachers chose not to participate in) I can't say I'm unhappy to see this situation resolved by the hand of the market. It's more than we can say about the Boston Tea Party, which did deprive consumers of choice through the act of corporate property destruction.

I think Schumachers business model works treat the customer right - no one enjoying a day of shopping wants that kind of abuse. A fur coat is rarely a spontaneous purchase. If you have the money to buy fur you probably don't mind driving it.

The real sadness about it all is that these protestors think:
A) they have single handedly stopped fur trade in Oregon (or some delusion on a less grand scale - perhaps)
B) that this city is dying and the government of P-town should rebuild it - while they maneuver to extinguish profitable and established businesses from Portlans tweaker pad - er - living room.

I think Schumachers business model works treat the customer right - no one enjoying a day of shopping wants that kind of abuse. A fur coat is rarely a spontaneous purchase. If you have the money to buy fur you probably don't mind driving it.

The real sadness about it all is that these protestors think:
A) they have single handedly stopped fur trade in Oregon (or some delusion on a less grand scale - perhaps)
B) that this city is dying and the government of P-town should rebuild it - while they maneuver to extinguish profitable and established businesses from Portland's tweaker pad - er - living room.

First they came for the furriers, but I don't wear fur, so I didn't complain.

Then they came for the fois gras, but I don't eat fois gras, and I did nothing.

Next, they came for the trans-fats and I watched silently, saying nothing.

Finally, they said all the gasoline must be diluted with ethanol, but it was too late. There weren't any moderates left, and every remaining PDXer was driving a Prius with an "Impeach Bush" or "Keep Portland Wierd" bumper sticker.

And the franken-corn farmers were laughing all the way to the bank.

Wow, it looks like someone needs to spend some time in a Communist country's no-free-speech-zone for some hands-on training!

Geezus, what part of the Bill of Rights don't you get? If a business can't handle the pressure and they fold from a few protesters, than that's called "life." To hear you blokes talk about it, anyone who might endanger one holy dollar should have their brains blown out onto the street.

You sick, sick people. Move to China please; you'll find an entire government that agrees with your philosophy!

Geezus, what part of 'business interruption' don't you get? Its not a matter of being able to "handle pressure" "from a few protesters". Its a matter of being able to run a simple business without interruption and with support from the local community. Why the H3LL aren't these idiots protesting outside Mary's, Doc Martins (leather shoes), or the nearest tobacco shop or liquor store?!

Would the protestor's 'free speech' rights end if they were protesting a business because it were owned by blacks rather than by what they sell? Get a grip people. These idiots will destroy the downtown business community in Portland.

I'm actually a big fan of conflict. It's the only way to find out who the winner is. I also support things when things happen.

Hello to butch: You've got that exactly right. It's called restraint of trade, and it's illegal. Despite what some may wish to believe, there is no First Amendment "right" to interfere with legal commerce. [In truth of fact, the free speech right guaranteed by the First Amendment is not itself absolute, as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., famously declared. One cannot, for example, shout "fire" in a crowded theatre.]

And not unrelatedly, the courts have repeatedly held that First Amendment rights of individuals do not give free rein to interfere with another's commerce. If anything, in the last decade or so, commerce has been protected as "free speech" more than the form of streetside protest has.

You can bet the Schumachers, and their high-priced lawyers, are taking down the names and addresses of all those hapless, half-dressed eco-waifs who litter our Saturday downtown afternoons.

Animal rights whackos - just another reason (let's see I think it's on page 512) why I don't bother with downtown Portland. The really bad part is that the city government sides with the whackos - pity, it use to be a lovely city.

I'm conflicted here. I have no problem with people wearing fur, but I also loves me a good protest.

Oh well... I guess somehow I think Portland will survive.

A plague of vermin infests the streets of downtown Portland. Plain and simple. These low lifes are ruining the heart of our city, no matter what City Hall or the Business Alliance says. Somebody with some balls should step up and truly sweep the streets clean. Portland's weak mayor has never looked weaker. It's not weirdness...or free speech....or market forces. It's pathetic.

I wonder how people would feel if Whole Foods was treated like this? I mean after all, they do sell meat.

Sure, its free speech. But as I remember it, your free speech stops where it infringes on someone else's rights. Unfortunately, the city and police here, still did nothing. Just more proof that the City doesnt care about downtown businesses.

These "protesters" have been pretty busy down there every Saturday for months. What worries me, is what are these people going to do on a Saturday now? Who else are they going to harass out of town?

Worldwide Pablo - Restraint of trade, seriously? If that were a legitimate way to challenge the protests, wouldn't the high priced lawyers have thought of that? I don't think anti-trust law has too much to do with the issue, but I could be mistaken.

It seems to be the market being effected by the market-place of ideas ... really loud and symbolic but overall ineffective ideas. It wasn't "fire" in a crowded theater. It was "fur" on a crowded street corner, and I don't believe Holmes had too much to say about that.

You know who my family's going to miss? Not the furriers: Good Dog Bad Dog. . . . if they can't make it downtown, that's not a good sign. Anyone know the story behind their demise?

I think Randy Leonard hit the nail on the head when he said (quoted in this morning's O, referring to efforts to help the Schumachers) "I honestly had never been involved in anything in which I felt like the folks I was trying to help did not want to be helped. The Schumachers carry at miniimum-at minimum-equal responsibility for what happened outside their store. I think the case could be made that they did what they could to fan the flames at every opportunity".

I believe you, Randy. I am familiar with the methodology of the local animal use group, the National Animal Interest Alliance, on whose board one of the Schumachers (Mark) sits. They use very sophisticated propanganda tactics to make it appear that anyone who advocates for animals is insane and lawless scum of the earth, while they themselves represent what is best in the USA, like motherhood, apple pie and free enterprise. They have been entrenched at he county animal shelter since the early nineties and have been successful enough in making it appear that anyone who advocates for pet owners is scum to keep significant well-documented stories about the operation of the shelter and a county task force that recommmended policy it won't embrace out of the papers.(Not to mention the magilla efforts the county has made to prevent animal activist Gail O'Connell Babcock from obtaining public records to help "death row" animals). These people might get their hands of any of your pets and not let go.

I would admonish readers to be skeptical about what they believe about this story. From what I have heard, Matt Roselle and In Defense of Animals would have accepted product labels disclosing how the fur was obtained as a compromise to stop the protests. That doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

I don't know something about this whole thing still feels fishy. It seems the Schumachers wanted this outcome, anyone know deatails about their lease situation? If they were looking to move to lower cost digs at some fancy new suburban mall generating as much publicity as possible seems savvy.

Maybe Mr. Schumacher can move to Baghdad... they're real busy skinning Sunnis there.

These people might get their hands of any of your pets and not let go.

When they start making "domesticated cat fur" coats, let me know.


From what I have heard, Matt Roselle and In Defense of Animals would have accepted product labels disclosing how the fur was obtained as a compromise to stop the protests.

And?
Why should they? Just to keep hooligans and such from parading in front of their business, harassing customers? Sounds like something that would make Don Coreleone proud.

To me, it seems like scorekeepers could chart the following:

Case 1:
Zoobombers: WIN
Drivers & Residents: LOSE

Case 2:
Picketing Activists: WIN
Law-abiding Business: LOSE

Do I detect a trend?
Do the Ranting Masses have City Hall by the cajones???

Perhaps drivers, residents and businesses should rant LOUDER and LONGER.

I thought of that, too, Eric. Free publicity for an industry which, looking at the big picture, has been in decline for many years; plus a free swipe at animal advocates. Calling people nasty names doesn't make compassion toward animals wrong. Savvy indeed.

Jon,

If you want to know about the cat fur trade, I have an article for the November 2000 Cat Fancy Magazine. It is based in China but makes sales world wide. And lest you think it is impossible that there is an Oregon connection, check out ORS 167.390(1) creating an exception to trading in cat and dog fur if the animal is killed for another purpose. To what, pray tell, might that reasonably apply if not to euthanized shelter animals?

That's from the November 2000 Cat Fancy.

Yeah, Don Yuan, that seems to be where we're headed.

There's that objectivity that makes the Merc such a reliable source of news.

Anyway, if they wanted to stay downtown, there are plenty of vacant storefronts that the fur traders could have picked from. Obviously, they wanted to leave, as noisily as possible.

Wait 'til the protesters follow them out to the 'burbs. We'll see how long that lasts.

There are many recent videos on the net showing trappers skinning animals alive to make coats. You can watch foxes chew their feet off to escape traps. I'm no animal rights nut, but the fur trade is plainly unnecessarily cruel and inhumane.

Before anyone sets China as the standard for comparison, they should check out the videos on the net of Chinese prisoners - heroin dealers - getting their organs cut out of them while they're still alive. There's a pattern here. The way societies treat animals parallels the way they treat people.

The images of animal abuse are so provocative that there will always be people who will exercise their Constitutional right to assemble and peacefully protest the Schumacher Fur businesss wherever it moves.

that there will always be people who will exercise their Constitutional right to assemble and peacefully protest

If they try it out at some suburban shopping mall, they'd better do it by the book. Those boys out in the boonies can make Officer Humphreys look like a sympathetic social worker.

I really don't understand some of the posts in this thread. What exactly is the problem with a group of mostly lawful protesters (those who broke the law were arrested) exercising their 1st amendment right to organize against something they see as evil? Would you have the same complaint against a group of neighbors who protest a local porn store? Or abortion protesters who protest a local clinic? People didn't feel strongly about their right to buy fur once they had to cross a protest line, so they stopped coming. Isn't that what open societies are all about?

And what did the City government have to do with this anyway? The police enforced the law. The Schumachers wanted the police to violate the protesters' civil rights by arresting them -- which would have cost all of us hundreds of thousands in court judgements and legal settlements. The City correctly declined.

For those who want to see more aggressive enforcement against groups who protest against fur shops, abortion providers, porn shops, etc., you are free to try to amend the Constitution. Good luck with that.

Exactly what the protesters did and didn't do, what the police allowed and forbade them to do, and what the store owners did to provoke them, aren't at all clear. But there are stories.

Having stood on a few picket lines myself, I'm not into the police getting in the way of lawful protest. In this case, the merchant's accusations are that the means of protest were not lawful, and that no action was taken against some of the unlawful parts. I have no idea whether those are true or not. The city is clearly on the record as saying the store owners brought it on themselves.

I don't buy that the city should be deciding what to do here based on fear of lawsuits. It needs to follow the law as best it can, but in a bitter dispute such as this one, somebody's likely to sue you no matter what you do and don't do. And it's a tightrope walk to get it right.

The entire fur protest thing is a bit over the top in a culture where animinal products are voraciously consumed by 99% of the population. I agree that standards should be imposed to ensure that fur should be harvested with humane methods, and it isn't too much to ask that reputable furriers follow these standards and laws against selling furs of endangered animals if they want public sympathy against protesters. I saw an article (maybe there was a link to it here) within the past six months ago where the Schumachers posted a sign on the window to their business that stated words to the effect that "All protesters should be anally electrocuted and shot". It also doesn't help the image of the local fur business that a fellow fur retailer Nicholas Ungar Furs was busted and paid 40k in fines for selling coats made from endangered/exotic animals. So we have crazy types on both sides of this one. In my opinion it means nothing in the big picture about anything if the Shumachers leave town.

If you want to know about the cat fur trade, I have an article for the November 2000 Cat Fancy Magazine. It is based in China but makes sales world wide. And lest you think it is impossible that there is an Oregon connection, check out ORS 167.390(1) creating an exception to trading in cat and dog fur if the animal is killed for another purpose. To what, pray tell, might that reasonably apply if not to euthanized shelter animals?

Posted by Cynthia | November 29, 2006 10:48 AM

Oops! That's an exception to the PROHIBITION against trading in cat and dog fur.

BTW, I happened to drive by the Schumacher store today and noticed it is for sale. Given that it's adjacent to the MAX line, my guess is that the highest and best use for the building is something really and truly trendier than fur. My experience is that the best adjective to describe the animal use crowd is deceptive.

Look for downtown to be populated by nothing much more than coffee shops and pizza joints.

Buy a clue, if you must. Portland is anti-business. Or do you imagine that La Rog Jewelers left town because Portland is so business-friendly? The fur store's just the latest casualty, but there have been many - and there will be many more.

Oh, and Cynthia: you were driving past the store? Whatever were you thinking? Driving is completely unacceptable in Portland.

That's why I say, look out car dealers, you're next.

"The entire fur protest thing is a bit over the top in a culture where animinal products are voraciously consumed by 99% of the population"

UsualKevin,

I think this too broad brush. I would like to see a public conversation on HOW we use animals. Some people eat cats and dogs and some use them as research subjects. But shouldn't there be safeguards to prevent YOUR cat or dog from this fate? And how about the ethics conversation on whether(and how much research is necessary). There is a lot to talk about, and my experience is that one of the reasons people take to the streets is because the conversation isn't happening, thanks in no small part to the wonderful press.

Max,

Call me unacceptable...

that's protect your cat or dog..

Buy a clue, if you must. Portland is anti-business. Or do you imagine that La Rog Jewelers left town because Portland is so business-friendly? The fur store's just the latest casualty, but there have been many - and there will be many more.

I still feel the whole mess stinks, but this statement is a huge stretch.

In my opinion it means nothing in the big picture about anything if the Shumachers leave town.

I Agree. With the Macys dropping huge cash, Nordstroms following suit, a fresh lease to Lucky Jean (eeeww) on Morrison and Broadway, and thousands more living there, downtown will be fine. It’s more of a forced facelift.

oops...forgot the italics.

Had this been a UNION shop, I wonder if Fireman Randy (and others) would have been so quick to write off the legitimacy of the Schumachers' complaints?

I'm just sayin'.

Didn't Burlington Coat Factory get in trouble about 5 years ago for selling "rabbit" or whatever fur coats that were actually dog fur from china??

"Didn't Burlington Coat Factory get in trouble about 5 years ago for selling "rabbit" or whatever fur coats that were actually dog fur from china??"

Yes. As a result of that incident, Congress passed a federal law prohibiting trade in cat and dog fur. Clinton signed it as he was leaving office, if memory serves. At the animal conference that year, it came up that the bill HSUS proposed should cover both import and export of cat and dog fur . Below the radar of many people is the fact that US animal shelters have been tied to animal users perceived needs for more than 50 years; in fact the legitimacy of "pound seizure" is the issue that caused a split between HSUS and American Humane in 1954. Journalists broaching the topic were censored then, and the press still isn't touching it in a meaningful way. They seem to think it is "anti-business", but imho, it is far more nuanced.

Dog and cat fur is often used to make fur covered figurines and is labelled rabbit fur. I bought two such fur-covered cat figures at the Multnomah County Fair in 2002; I am planning, at some point, to have them DNA tested. They look very much like figurines that I that were sold in Europe which turned out to be made of dog and cat fur. Then I will know whether, when one of my cats, pulled them out from where I had them stored, it was to mother or to stalk them.

Rickyragg,

I don't think RL ignored the Schumacher's complaint, but that he is trying to help unearth deception. The NAIA is known for deceptive tactic (see above) and has been a driving force behind the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act which GWB just signed into law, a law which has a chilling effect on animal advocacy/speech. Americans seem to have caught onto to the fallacy in making gods of lawyers and doctors. Maybe research scientists are not human too, or have they blinded us with science?

Scratch "not".


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Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend

The Occasional Book

Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
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
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
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
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 345
At this date last year: 211
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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