Is it an oxymoron for a group of homeless men and women to be in the housing market? After receiving a generous donation, Dignity Village, the ad hoc community camped underneath the Fremont Bridge in NW Portland, is looking to buy a piece of land. On April 16, the day after income taxes were due, the War Tax Resisters League handed over $5700 to Dignity Village. The Tax Resisters are a group who believe that their tax dollars should not support the U.S. military. Instead, they gave that portion of their taxes to Dignity Village who, in turn, have begun to look for a real estate agent. PHIL BUSSE
Free Trade's Loaded Dice
With a life-sized Monopoly board spread across Pioneer Square, 100 people gathered Saturday to voice opposition to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). Actors rolled giant dice, and while players representing corporations moved ahead in SUV game pieces, Latino "players" suffered major set-backs.
Organized by several workers-rights organizations, Saturday's event in Portland was held in tandem with protests from Quebec to San Diego. Yet, in spite of wide-spread public outcry, leaders from 34 nations--including President Bush--signed the pact that, if ratified, will establish a trade zone throughout the western hemisphere.
"This will exasperate problems," said Ryan Hunter with Alliance for Sustainable Jobs and the Environment. "It will allow companies to exploit sweatshop labor."
In perhaps a peaceful prelude to the impending May Day parade, the event went off without friction with Portland's police. Unlike previous protests over the past year police did not show up in riot gear, but instead escorted the march on bicycles as it moved from Niketown to Senator Smith's office.
Moreover, in another development in the relationship between police and protestors, at Sunday's City Hall meeting the mayor's chief of staff announced the May Day Coalition would be allowed to march up Broadway during Tuesday's rush hour.
This concession came after the coalition refused to obtain the necessary permit. It also flew in the face of Chief Kroeker, who had threatened to arrest errant marchers. It remains to be seen whether this is an aberration or an example of City Hall tightening the reins on its controversial police chief. PB