Outside Schumacher Fur last Friday, November 24, anti-fur protesters celebrated a year of weekly demonstrations with vegan cake, followed by a 200-strong march through downtown.
Shortly before noon, the protesters—chaperoned by more than 20 bicycle cops—gathered outside Schumacher Fur at SW 9th and Morrison for a "Fur-Free Friday" rally, then marched to Nicholas Ungar Furs, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom, before returning to Schumacher Fur.
The anniversary arguably marks the most fraught year for the store since its establishment in 1895. Owner Gregg Schumacher was accused of inciting the protesters during a "protest sale" in March, when anti-activist signs were posted in the shop window ["Fur Fighters," News, March 9]. In the past year, two protesters have been arrested and fined during the protests, for obstructing the sidewalk and interfering with a police officer.
There is little sign of the protests calming down: This past Saturday, November 25—the day after the anniversary march—staff and customers emerged from the store—led by co-owner Linda Schumacher—waving pro-fur signs in counter protest.
"It could have been, potentially, a nasty confrontation," says Central Precinct Commander Mike Reese. "This has been time consuming and has used a lot of our resources, but as long as there is a possibility of confrontation, we will do everything we can to keep the peace."
In June, one of Schumacher's customers told the city council the protesters were "terrorizing" downtown shoppers, and begged the city to intervene. Mayor Tom Potter had earlier tried to convince both sides to try mediation but the Schumachers refused to participate.
"The IDA [In Defense of Animals] wanted me to put a label on the coats and leather garments saying how the animals may have been killed," says Gregg Schumacher. "But the language was not accurate. And if we did it, then McDonald's may as well put a label on every hamburger they sell."
"We'll still be here next year," IDA Director Matt Rossell promises.
However, Schumacher Fur may not be—on Tuesday, Schumacher reportedly announced plans to move the shop out of downtown, and possibly out of Portland.